Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Communication and Information

Major Professor

John W. Haas

Committee Members

Virginia W. Kupritz, Emily A. Paskewitz


Civil war and instability in Syria has resulted in mass casualties and the largest migration of peoples since WWII (International Organization for Migration, 2015). The year 2015 witnessed a refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, a crisis that continues today. Fleeing danger undoubtedly shapes the identities of refugees, and the identities of refugee children are indeed the most vulnerable. This study examines ways in which Syrian refugee orphans communicate elements of social identity. Utilizing social identity theory (SIT) as a lens to analyze children’s drawings, this study not only reveals which social groups are most salient amongst children’s orphaned Syrian refugee children in Jordan, but it also examines the positive and negative views of home after traumatic experiences. The drawings analyzed in this study were collected by the Syrian Emergency Task Force during a humanitarian visit to Jordan and were later published online and in calendars. The refugee children were asked to draw, ‘where is your happy place?’ These drawings provide insight into how children categorize self and others. Such insight provides a window into the multiple identities held by this group of children. Through the analysis of these drawings, potential cross-cultural adaptation needs can be identified. This methodology could prove useful for humanitarian relief groups in the future in communicating with children of all ages when there is a language or cultural barrier.

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