Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Institute for
Interdisciplinary Research
on Conflict and Violence

Conditions and Consequences of Ethnic Colony Formation

Short description

The project inquired into which factors influence processes of community formation among migrants and what the consequences are. Such processes are often labeled (ethnic) colony formation, ghettoisation or, in the German discourse, development of 'parallel societies' (Parallelgesellschaften).

Data on migrants’ participation in society were collected in a survey covering whole Germany. The questionnaire distinguished between (a) participation in majority society and (b) in ethnic sub-society. We showed that ethnic structures do not rival the structures of majority society. This applies to participation in organizations, associations and the like as well as to informal networks and media consumption (Salentin 2004 [German]). Scientific and public discourses have uttered the assumption that there is competition between majority society amenities and its ethnic equivalents. However, empirically there is either no correlation between the two directions of participation or, more often, we could even find a positive relationship. I. e. persons who consume more media in the language of their origin consume more, not less, media in German language. Those who are more interested in politics of their country of origin are also more interested in politics in Germany.

Experiences of discrimination play an important role for social integration of migrants. Though they are not necessarily identical with factual discrimination – a concept on which a consensus is difficult to achieve – they constitute a measure of integration that social politics have to be aware of. Eventually, for migrants’ notion of being accepted, it matters only what is ''perceived'' as real. Perceived discrimination is negatively related to migrants’ trust in the societal system (Salentin/Wilkening 2003 [German]). Empirically, it is a widespread problem. Its occurrence varies between groups of various origins and along socio-demographic lines (Salentin 2008 [German]).

Religiousness among migrants is negatively related to attitudes that express willingness to assimilate and positively to ethnic preferences to persons of the same geographic origin. However, religious persons do not generally decline participation in society. Rather, their concept of integration includes participation coupled with preservation of cultural distinctness (Baumann/Salentin 2006).

The project has yielded essential methodological progress in migration and integration research. An onomastic sampling procedure that uses typical migrant names was developed and implemented (Salentin 1999 [German]). Further, analyses have shown that restricting migrant surveys limited to foreigner samples causes severe biases because naturalized migrants possess considerably better socio-economic indicators (Salentin/Wilkening 2003 [German]).
Herr Prof. em. Dr. Günter Albrecht
Herr Dr. Kurt Salentin
Herr F. Wilkening
Cooperation partners
Fakultät für Soziologie
Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft