Assimilation Theory As A Theory Of South-To-North Migrant Incorporation: Analyzing The Contrasting Characteristics Of North-To-South Migration And Laying The Groundwork For A General Theory Of Migrant Incorporation
1Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong; 2Max Weber Foundation, Germany
Assimilation theory is often regarded as a general theory of immigrant incorporation, but its empirical basis is constituted almost entirely of cases of South-to-North migration. This study compares the central tenets of classical, segmented and new assimilation theory with studies on instances of South-to-North, North-to-South, North-to-North and South-to-South migration. While assimilation theory’s predictions fit well for South-to-North migration, outcomes are more neutral for ‘lateral’ forms of migration, and often reversed for North-to-South migration. Specifically, assimilation theory predicts that migrants enter the receiving society in a disadvantaged position vis-a-vis the ‘societal mainstream’: Migrants are assumed to often have less, or less convertible, human capital, and tend to face unfavorable modes of incorporation, with often hostile immigration policies, prejudiced societal reception, and weak co-ethnic communities. The ‘societal mainstream’ is viewed to often offer better opportunities, encouraging assimilation. However, analyzing empirical studies of instances of North-to-South migration reveals that in these cases, migrants tend to enter the receiving society in an advantaged position, typically having human capital that is valued higher than that of receiving society members and encountering receptive immigration policies, positive societal reception and strong, powerful co-ethnic communities. Outcomes of North-to-North and South-to-South range in between. It thus appears that assimilation theory’s status as a general immigrant incorporation theory is based on a mistaken generalization of a specific set of cases. We proceed to outline a general theory of migrant incorporation that includes all four trajectories.
Acculturation of Slavic Migrants in Poland. Socio-Legal Study
Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Poland
Polish law provides specific legal and institutional framework shaping the reality of foreigners. In my paper I will present findings from my PhD project, which aims to investigate the factors determining the process of Slavic migrants’ acculturation in Poland. Special emphasis is placed on legal and institutional factors.
The project is based on a theoretical acculturation model called Relative Acculturation Extended Model. The research group in this project consists of migrants originating from Slavic countries who arrived in Poland in the period of 1989-2003. Project combines the formal-dogmatic method and the critical analysis of the legal texts with qualitative sociological method in the form of biographical interviews with migrants and in-depth interviews with experts.
At ESA I will present the initial findings from empirical research and legal analysis carried out so far. The empirical part of the project is scheduled to be completed in July 2019, so I will be able to use most of the data for my presentation.
The results will identify the underlying biographical processes associated with the migration process and determine how institutional factors affect the experience of migrants in the migration process, the strategies desired and implemented by them, and the nature of the relationship between these choices, their effect and beforementioned factors.
Exploring Migrants’ Legal Consciousness: a Case of African Migrants in Lithuania
Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
Standing on the pillars of the theoretical framework in the field of research of legal consciousness (Ewick, P., Silbey, S., Hertogh M.) the conducted research seeks to address the features of migrants‘ legal consciousness. It provides insights into the distinctive features of African migrants‘ legal consciousness in a different legal system and legal culture setting of a host country as well as the factors which influence the genesis of those features. The research is based on twelve semi-structured interviews, conducted in Lithuania in 2019. Interviewees were sampled using criteria and snowball sampling. Preliminary results of semi-structured interviews reveals a vacuum of legal socialization, the features of undetectable legalities of host country, instances of socio-legal remittance and voluntary and semi-voluntary isolation towards the host country’s legal system. The given data also corresponds/comes in line to the patterns of legal consciousness referring the spectrum of legal alienation (“legal meaningless”, “legal powerlessness”, “legal cynicism” and “legal value isolation” (M. Hertogh, 2018)). The value of this research lies in (1) filling the shortage of particular research concerning the topic of migrants‘ legal consciousness, (2) identifying the distinctiveness of legal consciousness which is externalized mostly by legal alienation and (3) noticing those triggers, which come to play as key factors in the development of the patterns of legal consciousness, e.g.: remittance of legal knowledge and experience, diversification of experiences regarding public vs social institutions, etc.
Value Consensus and Feelings of Welcome Amongst Refugees: Evidence from a Prospective Panel Study
Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
The integration of refugees who recently arrived in the European Union is a matter of ongoing public debate. The sociology of migration has continuously emphasized the positive long-term effects of employment, social networks, residential location, and legal status on the integration of immigrants. Regarding integration of refugees, however, these indicators are of limited value because of their prolonged legal liminality. Existing studies have therefore emphasized the importance of social and cultural factors (e.g., language, norms, values) for refugee integration and well-being, in particular shortly after arrival. In this respect, values are widely discussed as prerequisites for successful integration. Two lines of argument are related to this conjecture: First, value consensus, i.e., shared values between refugees and members of the host society, are considered hallmarks of individual well-being and social integration. In acculturation theory this is reflected in concepts of cultural distance, where values are part of a person’s cognitive social capital that promotes the formations of social bonds and feelings of community. In this view, value consensus rather than value distance should be associated with well-being and feelings of welcome amongst refugees (consensus hypothesis). Second, one might argue that, in particular, liberal and cosmopolitan values promote social integration and feelings of welcome in culturally distinct societies, irrespective of whether these values are widely shared with members of the host society (independence hypothesis). The present contribution investigates both hypotheses using data from the World Values Survey and the IAB-BAMF-SOEP, a prospective panel of refugees in Germany, comprising 4817 adult respondents in 2016. Initial analysis lends support to the independence hypothesis, rather than the popular consensus hypothesis, indicating that absolute liberal values positively influence feelings of welcome.