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Interethnic peer relationships in schools
PhD ceremony:Ms M. (Marianne) Hooijsma
When:February 13, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. D.R. (René) Veenstra, A. (Andreas) Flache, Prof Dr
Co-supervisors:dr. J.K. (Jan Kornelis) Dijkstra, dr. G.E. (Gijs) Huitsing
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences

Ethnic diversity in Dutch schools, like in the society at large, is growing. Some are concerned that this gives rise to increasing tensions between ethnic groups, perhaps even that ethnically diverse classrooms become clashrooms. This dissertation aimed to gain insights into ethnic tensions in classrooms by using social network data for studying youth’s positive and negative interethnic relationships. Results show that although youth generally preferred to associate with same-ethnic peers, negative relationships (such as rejection and bullying) did not occur more often between cross- than same-ethnic peers. Ethnic diversity in schools was therefore not found to give rise to tensions between ethnic groups. Nevertheless, the limited presence of positive cross-ethnic peer relationships in diverse classrooms is related to less positive interethnic attitudes, especially for societal majority Dutch youth’s attitudes toward youth with an immigrant background. This dissertation shows that a deeper understanding of the broader peer network in schools can be used to identify conditions under which youth cross ethnic boundaries in their peer relationships. For example, similarity in factors other than ethnicity, such as similarity in position in the bullying network, promotes cross-ethnic relationships. This dissertation deepens and nuances our understanding of interethnic peer relationships in schools through using social network data and differentiating between ethnic groups.