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Paths of Integration

Paths of Integration: Migrants in Western Europe (1880-2004)

Leo Lucassen
David Feldman
Jochen Oltmer
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 343
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  • Book Info
    Paths of Integration
    Book Description:

    Why do some migrants integrate quickly, while others become long-term minorities? What is the role of the state in the settlement process? To what extent are experiences in the past different from the present? Are the recent migrants really integrating in another way than those in the past? Is Islam indeed an obstacle to integration? These are some of the burning questions, which dominate the current politicized debate on immigration in Western Europe. In this book, leading historians and social scientists analyze and compare a variety of settlement processes in past and present migration to Western Europe. Identifying general factors in the process of adaptation of new immigrants, the contributors trace social changes effected by recent European immigration, and the parallels with the great American migration of the 1880s-1920s. The history of migration to Western Europe and the way these migrants found their place in the receiving societies, is not only essential to understand the way nations deal with newcomers in the present, but also constitutes a highly interesting laboratory for different paths of integration now and then. By analyzing and comparing a wealth of settlement processes both in the past and in the present this book is both a bold interdisciplinary endeavor, and at the same time the first attempt to identify general factors underlying the way migrants adapt to their new surroundings, as well as how societies change under the influence of immigration. The chapters in the book both look at specific groups in various periods, but also analyses the structure of the state, churches unions and other important organized actors in Western European nation states. Moreover, the results are embedded in the more theoretical American literature on the comparison of old and new migrants. All chapters have an explicit comparative perspective, either by comparing different groups or different periods, whereas the general conclusion ties together the various outcomes in a systematic way, highlighting the main answers to the central questions about the various outcomes of settlement processes. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0424-4
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Immigrant Integration in Western Europe, Then and Now
    (pp. 7-24)
    Leo Lucassen, David Feldman and Jochen Oltmer

    In the 1990s, an interesting and heated discussion emerged among migration scholars in the United States on the question, if and to what extent the ‘new’ post 1965 immigrants to the US would experience integration and assimilation processes similar to those experienced by the equally massive immigration wave from Southern and Eastern Europe between 1880-1914.¹ Thus far, this debate has had virtually no resonance in the European context. One reason for this may be that many scholars remain prisoners of their national histories.² This limitation has led them to foster assumptions concerning the ethnic homogeneity of populations within European nation-states....


    • Poles and Turks in the German Ruhr Area: Similarities and Differences
      (pp. 27-45)
      Leo Lucassen

      One of the first migration scholars who stressed the value of comparing old and new migrants in Western Europe was the French historian Gérard Noiriel. Inspired by American scholarship he used the concept of the ‘melting pot’ to characterise the settlement process of migrants in France since the 19th century.² In one of his earlier studies, on the city of Longwy, situated in the northeast of France, Noiriel used a comparison which may be typified as ‘diachronic-convergent’.³ Focusing on Longwy, which emerged as a centre of heavy industry in the period 1880-1980 he showed how in the course of time...

    • Old and New Migrants in France: Italians and Algerians
      (pp. 46-62)
      Marie-Claude Blanc-Chaléard

      Contrary to most European countries, France has had a history of near-constant immigration since the 19thcentury. Historians only began studying immigration much later, however, within a context of the violent rise of xenophobia of the 1980s, a period when one of theleitmotivsof public opinion was to compare the recent non-European and Muslim immigrants (for the most part Algerians and their children, quickly lumped together in a ‘Maghrebi’ ensemble), consideredinassimilable, to the European immigrants of the past who had ‘easily’ been assimilated into the French nation. The challenge then for historians (and other social science researchers) was...

    • Rural Dimensions at Stake: The Case of Italian Immigrants in Southwestern France
      (pp. 63-77)
      Laure Teulières

      Italian immigration to southwest France, which started in the early 1920s, presents a particular modality of migrants’ integration, as the settlement of Italian newcomers had a major impact on the countryside and on local communities. The aim of this paper is to underline the specific characteristics of this massive immigration,¹ especially its rural dimension, and to think through the implications of this specific case for our general insights into the integration process.

      The general image of this Italian migration has long been that of a successful and swift assimilation, that is the complete disappearance of the migrant group into French...

    • Assigning the State its Rightful Place? Migration, Integration and the State in Germany
      (pp. 78-97)
      Karen Schönwälder

      In the American debate about integration and assimilation ‘then and now’, changing economic conditions and the social context of the ethnic communities feature prominently, but little consideration is given to the possible impact of changing political conditions on integration processes – although the problem is occasionally mentioned.¹ To some extent this may reflect a general disregard for the state in migration research – as observed by James Hollifield as well as Aristide Zolberg. Thus Zolberg noted that “the role of states in shaping international migration has been largely ignored by immigration theorists”.² And Hollifield sees theorists scrambling to “‘bring the...

    • ‘To Live as Germans Among Germans.’ Immigration and Integration of ‘Ethnic Germans’ in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic
      (pp. 98-115)
      Jochen Oltmer

      In 1950, in the aftermath of the Second World War and after flight and expulsion had come to an end, there were about four million Germans still living in East, East Central and Southeastern Europe. Between 1950 and 1975, a total of about 800,000Aussiedler(immigrants who are recognised by the German authorities as being of German descent) passed through the Western German border transit camps, and 616,000 more arrived between 1976 and 1987. Then, with the opening of the Iron Curtain, mass immigration of theAussiedlerbegan. Against the background of ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ in the USSR, their numbers...

    • Aussiedler in Germany: From Smooth Adaptation to Tough Integration
      (pp. 116-136)
      Barbara Dietz

      The immigration of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union played a significant role in the post-Second World War immigration and integration experience of Germany. But in contrast to labour migrants, the inflow of ethnic Germans was not related to economic factors like recruitment programs or the business cycle. Because ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union had experienced forced resettlement and ethnic discrimination during and after Second World War, they were allowed to enter Germany and were granted German citizenship upon arrival.

      Until the end of the 1980s, the integration of ethnic German...


    • Polish Berlin: Differences and Similarities with Poles in the Ruhr Area, 1860-1920
      (pp. 139-157)
      Dorota Praszatowicz

      Massive Polish migrations to Berlin started in the 1860s and by the end of the century, significant centres of the Polish diaspora were firmly established.¹ The process of immigrant community building and decline has thus far been studied mostly from the Polish perspective, and to a lesser extent, from the German side, focusing predominantly on cultural continuity and/or the policy toward immigrants.² As both Polish and German discourses have been highly ethnocentric, much less attention has been paid to the integration and assimilation process. In this paper I will concentrate on the Polish presence in Berlin. The settlement of Poles...

    • A Passage from India: Trajectories of Economic Integration in London and Mediterranean Europe
      (pp. 158-176)
      Mark-Anthony Falzon

      In this paper I shall be looking at Hindu Sindhis, a well-defined community of traders from northwest India. More specifically, I will compare the pathways of economic integration of Hindu Sindhis in two very different places – London and the Mediterranean island of Malta. Data for the paper derive from two sources. Intermittently between 1995 and 2000, I conducted anthropological fieldwork in Malta, London, and Bombay (Mumbai). I draw extensively on oral history as narrated to me by several senior traders. Research in the Malta National Archives in 1999 yielded 88 records pertaining to 10 Sindhi firms that date from...

    • Afro-Caribbean Migrants in France and the United Kingdom
      (pp. 177-198)
      Laurence Brown

      The shortage of comparative studies on Caribbean migration is perhaps not surprising given that the region’s general historiography remains fragmented by the borders of language, nation, and empire.¹ However, in the past decade there has been an upsurge in comparative scholarship on Caribbean migration, particularly by those seeking to make connections between contemporary immigration in North America and Western Europe. Led by anthropologists and sociologists, recent studies have adopted differing comparative frameworks to analyse the cultural changes and social structures which have shaped the experiences of Afro-Caribbean migrants on both sides of the Atlantic. In advocating that histories of migration...


    • Trade Unions and Immigrant Incorporation: The US and Europe Compared
      (pp. 201-221)
      Barbara Schmitter-Heisler

      The process of immigrant incorporation (or exclusion) is complex and shaped by many factors. Among the most important, are the characteristics of immigrants (their ethnic/racial characteristics, their human and social capital), the economic, social and political characteristics of sending and receiving societies, and the relationships between them. Recent theories and research has focused increasingly on the latter characteristic, in particular the creation and maintenance of transnational ties and transnational communities. While the transnational perspective has provided new insights into the changing contemporary reality, this perspective has tended to marginalise or simply exclude many of the variables deemed important in previous...

    • No More than a Keg of Beer: The Coherence of German Immigrant Communities
      (pp. 222-238)
      Marlou Schrover

      One evening in January 1878, a special train ran between the Dutch cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht.¹ The journey lasted an hour and the train stopped at every station in between. The local Utrecht newspaper had predicted that many people would take this train to attend a play at the German theatre in Amsterdam, and indeed 272 people did. It is not certain whether all of them went to the German theatre. There was also a circus in Amsterdam that same night. A fortnight later, another special train was announced in the Utrecht newspaper. This time the German theatre in...

    • Religious Newcomers and the Nation-State: Flows and Closures
      (pp. 239-261)
      Thijl Sunier

      The presence of Muslims in Western Europe is at once a new and an old phenomenon. At the present moment, several million people with an Islamic background work and live in Europe, but the relation between Europe and what has been coined the ‘Islamic world’ did not start with the arrival of migrants after the Second World War, the ‘third wave’ of Islam as Cardini has called it.² This relation dates back to the earliest Islamic history and it is mainly a relation between Islam andChristianity.³ In more recent times, many Western European states have developed a history of...

    • American Immigrants Look at their Americanisation
      (pp. 262-280)
      Dorothee Schneider

      During the years 1840-1930, the population of the United States grew more than at any other period in its history, largely because of the influx of immigrants from Europe. The newcomers, because of their background and their numbers, were considered a challenge to American national identity, and the movement to make the immigrants into Americans matured in direct response to their arrival. Consensus over what ‘American’ values were, proved elusive, though this did not diminish the zeal with which a large number of institutions, people, and communities became engaged in the massive attempt to teach ‘Americanism’ and ‘American citizenship’ to...


    • Drawing Up the Balance Sheet
      (pp. 283-296)
      Leo Lucassen, David Feldman and Jochen Oltmer

      This book offers an insight into the history of the settlement of immigrants in Western Europe. By displaying a wide range of experiences in different periods and countries it disaggregates the simple notions of migration and integration. Given the large differences in both the opportunity structure of the various European nation-states and in the characteristics of the migrants, this need not come as a surprise. Before shedding some light on the main paths of integration in Western Europe’s past and present, we should first return to the US, the origin of this specific historical comparison. Compared with the rather clearcut...

  8. About the Authors
    (pp. 297-300)
  9. References
    (pp. 301-332)
  10. Index
    (pp. 333-343)