Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Transnational Belonging, Non-ethnic Forms of Identification and Diverse Mobilities: Rethinking Migrant Integration?

Dahinden, Janine

In: Migration: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 2012, p. 117-128

The integration of migrants is a key topic in ethnic and migration studies in Western countries and generation of scholars have elaborated sophisticated theories to provide a detailed understanding of integration processes. Nevertheless, when it comes to cultural aspects and questions of belonging, I argue in this chapter that the popular paradigms share some common ground in the sense that they... More

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    Summary
    The integration of migrants is a key topic in ethnic and migration studies in Western countries and generation of scholars have elaborated sophisticated theories to provide a detailed understanding of integration processes. Nevertheless, when it comes to cultural aspects and questions of belonging, I argue in this chapter that the popular paradigms share some common ground in the sense that they suffer from shortcomings. First, they largely neglect the intertwined nature of processes of incorporation and transnational forms of identification and belonging. Second, most theories are more or less blind to non-ethnic forms of identification because they use ethnicity as an unproblematic explanans for both describing and explaining processes of integration. Finally, they fail to take into account all types of mobility that go beyond migration-cum-settlement as a one-way process and have varied effects on migrants sense of belonging and identity. On behalf of three short biographies of migrants, I will elaborate and discuss these three theoretical shortcomings and propose directions for future research and theory building.