The Netherlands is a welfare state democracy which promises to help groups that are assumed to be weak, among which refugees, in their path towards inclusion.
Despite a variety of integration policies, the societal inclusion of refugees remains a challenge. One of the causes of refugees’ exclusion is that in the Dutch welfare context, refugees are often considered as a weak group in need of help. This may inhibit refugees’ chances to participate and belong in Dutch society.
What is more, in the Netherlands, there is a dominance of policy engagement by social scientists that has mainly been used to support and strengthen the policies of the welfare state in combating inequalities. This intertwining of policy and research that can also be observed regarding migrants’ participation and integration in the Netherlands, resulted in a so-called Dutch ‘minority research machinery’. Scholars involved with this topic became strong counterparts of the Dutch government and the boundaries between policy and academia started to blur. The negative consequence of this research-policy nexus was a strong dependency on governmental funding and that research became increasingly influenced/biased by/with the government's agenda/priorities. In addition to homogenizing policy with an overly focus on refugees as a weak group, the Dutch ‘minority research machinery’ also had a marginalizing impact on the development of other kinds of engaged (in particular critical) scholarship in the Netherlands.
there is a dominance of policy engagement by social scientists that has mainly been used to support and strengthen the policies of the welfare state in combating inequalities
It needs to be mentioned though that currently there is an emerging discussion on the importance of valorisation of research and its societal impact. Notwithstanding, academic engagement still is approached more as a one-way transfer of knowledge from academia to society, instead of a mutual exchange of knowledge that would allow for the emergence of different perspectives and images of refugees as strong and entrepreneurial individuals with talents.