Masculinities in Conflict: A research about the affected masculine identities of Syrian refugees
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This case study is a contribution to the theoretical and public debate about men’s gendered identities in conflict. A topic that has largely been overlooked and neglected by academics and policymakers. The research focuses on male refugees, who fled Syria and arrived in the Netherlands between 2010 and 2017. The thesis investigates the dissonance between the cultural constructions of masculinity in the country of origin and the reality in which these men live as a refugee. It turned out most participants do not succeed in meeting social expectations of what real men are like, how they should act and represent themselves to others according to pre-flight notions of masculinity. This inability to live up to dominant norms affects their personal masculine identities. In this research three transformations of masculine identities which can be seen as coping mechanisms have been distinguished: overcompensation, escapism and adaptation. However, the results also demonstrate how personal constructs of masculinity of a few Syrian men remained largely untouched.