In my research encounters, I explored highly educated second-generation migrant youth; who are from a non-European background sense of belonging and identities by using their narratives. I did this by examining how they perceive themselves but also the politics behind their belonging within Dutch society through an intersectionality lens. These narratives provided insight into how the image of the migrant is socially reproduced. This social exclusion is a reflection on how integration policies are practiced and perceived in the Netherlands in specific spaces like neighbourhood, school and university. The study followed a life course and intersectionality approach through fifteen in-depth qualitative interviews. In keeping with this essence, the research is composed in a story-like way to capture all individuals’ narratives. Stories were collected from young people who have a mixture of ethnic backgrounds, but their stories overlap and their similarities. By doing so, the results from these stories show that integration in the Dutch society happened early in their lives within themselves, but there comes a turning point where they are called out on their differences. They are breaking the status quo, though it is not easy, they are informing both the ethnic Dutch on who they are and within their ethnic communities. These young people are redefining social and cultural capital to their advantage through their multi-layered identity.

second-generation migrant, youth, identity, relational belonging, social and cultural capital, diversity, the Netherlands
Grabska, Katarzyna (Kasia) Elzbieta
Social Policy for Development (SPD)
International Institute of Social Studies

Plooy, Elizabeth du. (2019, December 20). Navigating identities: Stories of belonging of second-generation migrant youth in the Netherlands. Social Policy for Development (SPD). Retrieved from