Mittwoch, 11. April 2012

Immigrant children and their parents: Is there an intergenerational embeddedness of social integration into social networks?

Professor Dr. Michael Windzio (University of Bremen)

Studies on interethnic network ties have shown for many Western receiving countries that there is still a considerable degree of friendship segregation between racial groups and between immigrants and natives. While existing network studies on immigrant integration mainly investigate friendship ties, the focus of the present study is also on other dimensions of social ties. This paper is one of the first in migration and integration research which analyses the complex intergenerational interdependence of complete networks among children in school-classes with networks among their parents. It will be argued that networks of children are socially embedded in networks of their parents.

Children’s attendance at birthday parties is a good example of intergenerational embeddedness of networks. In contrast to just nominating other students as friends, attending their birthday parties is publicly visible and increases the reputation of both hosts and guests. Usually, children’s parents are also involved in these parties. They organize it, pay for presents and bring their children to the host’s home. Generally, parents tend to have lower levels of inter-ethnic contact than their children, also because immigrant parents do not regularly meet natives at focus points such as school-classes. Because parents tend to lag behind in the process of social assimilation, an inter-generational embeddedness of networks might affect the social assimilation in the children’s generation.

It is an empirical question, however, whether there actually is an interdependence between children’s and parents’ networks; and if so, how it affects the social integration in networks of immigrant children. Results of multivariate probit p* network models using survey data of 1299 4th grader’s will be presented.