Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Nordic Journal of Migration Research

The Journal of Nordic Migration Research

4 Issues per year

Open Access
Online
ISSN
1799-649X
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 6, Issue 3

Issues

Book Reviews

Ismo Söderling / Olga Davydova-Minguet / Simo Mannila / Alexandros Sakellariou
  • Post-doctoral researcher, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences of Athens, Department of Sociology, Greece
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Marita Härmälä / Saila Heinikoski
Published Online: 2016-08-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/njmr-2016-0022
njmrnjmrnjmrNordic Journal of Migration Research1799-649XDe Gruyternjmr-2016-002210.1515/njmr-2016-0022Book ReviewsBook ReviewsSöderlingIsmo 77Associate Professor, University of Turku, Research Fellow at the Institute of Migration, Turku, Finland182016228201663183191AybekCan M., HuininkJohannes & MuttarakRaya (eds.) 2015 Spatial Mobility, Migration, and Living Arrangements, Springer Cham Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht & London: Springer, 246 pp© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston2016

In general, international and internal migration as spatial movements are regarded as separate phenomena. However, the reality has shown that different forms of migration are closely related. In connection with huge out-migration flows, strong internal movements also have taken place (e.g. Söderling 2003; Del Boca & Venturini 2003). Even though the research on migration has a multidisciplinary nature, the research on spatial mobility has been an interest of social scientists, especially sociologists. The great advantage of the reviewed book, Spatial Mobility, Migration, and Living Arrangements, is that it approaches migration from several scientific views, with particular emphasis on social sciences and demography. The book also examines both international and internal aspects of migration. The editors of the book, Can M. Aybek and Raya Muttarak, refer in the introduction to the study of Russell King and Ronald Skeldon (2010) when they stress diversity of migration: ‘They argue that the division between research on internal and international spatial mobility is arbitrary and inappropriate. They remind us that many of the early theoretical contributions developed to explain human mobility were based on the study of internal moves (p. 3)’.

The book consists of three parts and 11 chapters. The book does not unfortunately have any index. This is a clear flaw. The first part of the book ‘Union and Family Formation, Partner Choice and International Migration’ has four chapters on ‘how mobility is closely intertwined in family formation processes and how post-mobility, especially the experience of international migration, can influence partnership choice’ (p. 11). The chapter authored by David Glowsky (‘Fertility in Marriages Between German Men and Marriage Migrants’), for example, investigates fertility patterns of female marriage migrants and their German husbands. Focusing on marriage migrants from Eastern Europe and South-East Asia, the author argues that marriage migration is one of the few legal options for women from poorer countries to get better economic security (p. 11). In this article, Glowsky is testing the hypothesis ‘whether marriages between German men and marriage migrants women from poorer countries contribute disproportionally highly fertility in Germany’. A comparison of 268 German–German couples with 461 couples made up of German men and women from Thailand, Brazil, Poland and Russia shows that this is not the case (p. 85). One of the main findings was that marriages with marriage migrants remain childless far more often than marriages amongst German partners. It was also shown that those bi-national couples are more prone to have children if the husband is familiar with the wife’s culture.

A set of three chapters in second part of the book addresses how different kinds of mobility – circular and non-circular – affect partnership quality, stability of the relationship and family life.

Stefanie Kley examines in her interesting paper the impact of job-related mobility and migration intensions on union dissolutions. Based on previous studies, subjective well-being declines as the journey between home and work lengthens. The crucial question is, whether and under which circumstances the burden of long-distance commuting might spread into other spheres of life and might increase the risk of separation for couples (p. 139). The data come from the study ‘Migration decisions in the life course’, a three-wave panel with event history data, which was funded by the German Research Foundation. The data were gathered randomly amongst the residents of two German cities aged 18–50 years. The participation rates of the three data collection waves were above 50%, which can be considered relatively high today. One of the main findings show that long-distance commuting does not generally increase the risk of union dissolutions. The investment in couple-specific capital that may act as a barrier to ending the partnership was found to be influential (p. 155).

The third part of the book is tackling spatial mobility and its relations with family life course events and living arrangements. For example, Therese Luetzelberger examines in her high-quality study the residential independence of Italian and German students and their perception of the labour markets. The early residential independence of young adults seems to be strongly connected with the Northern European culture (including Germany) and social structures. On the other hand, the living arrangements of young Southern Europeans are characterised by traditionally strong family ties and the co-residence of parents and their grown-up children (p. 189). The main research question seems to be, why students and their parents in Germany are willing to defray high costs, and even go in debt, for residential independence during higher education? On the other hand, the Italian students and parents prefer to save money and use their financial resources instead to become home-owners at a relatively young age (p. 190). In Italy, home-ownership is far more common than in Germany and often already starts with the beginning of married life.

Luetzelberger has conducted interviews with 17 university students and 10 parents in Germany. Thus her study is one of the few qualitative studies of the book. The author showed clearly that whilst family ties and widespread desire for early home-ownership constrain the late spatial mobility of Italians, Germans more often get pushed away from their homes by another cultural feature: In Germany, it is considered to be a negative signal for employers if young people spend a prolonged period of time in search of the first job (p. 201).

Summing up: all the 11 articles are interesting and of high quality, binding together spatial movement and life course events. As a minor critical comment, it can be stated that the presented research designs were based mainly on quantitative methods. Various qualitative approaches have offered a wider variety of results. A part of the quantitative data was also relatively old, so the generalisations of some findings to the present day is open to different interpretations. The book can be recommended especially for graduate students and researchers in the field.

Reference

  • Del Boca, D and Venturini, A 2003, ‘Italian Migration’, Discussion Paper No. 938, Forschunginstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit, Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn. Google Scholar

  • King, R and Skeldon, R 2010, ‘Mind the Gap!: Bridging the theoretical divide between internal and international migration’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vo. 36, no. 10, pp. 1619-1646. Google Scholar

  • Söderling, I 2003, ‘Integration of Migrants in Europe: the Case of Finland’, Studi Emigrazione – International Journal of Migration Studies, Roma, pp. 905-927. Google Scholar

njmrnjmrnjmrNordic Journal of Migration Research1799-649XDe Gruyternjmr-2016-002210.1515/njmr-2016-0022Book ReviewsBook ReviewsDavydova-MinguetOlga 88Dr, University researcher, Karelian Institute of the University of Eastern Finland182016228201663183191De CesariChiara & RigneyAnn (eds.) 2014 Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, Scales, Berlin & Boston: De Gruyter. 376 pp© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston2016

The book Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, Scales continues the series of works on the cultural memory of literature scholar Ann Rigney and anthropologist Chiara de Cesari who hold professorships at the universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam. In this book, editors’ research interests such as cultural memory studies, heritage and museum studies have been soundly articulated with a particular focus on issues relating to mediation, transnationalism and globalisation. The book comprises a well-written theoretical introduction and 14 articles, which are divided into the three titular themes of the book. The scope of study foci in the articles is wide: movies, photographs, UNHCR and UNESCO reports, quilts, museums, political statements, memorials, and EU practices in Post-Colonial, Post-Socialist, ‘old’ EU countries and the United States. All of them scrutinise the formation of cultural memory and are united by a transnational research angle.

In my view, one of the main achievements of the book is the disentanglement of cultural memory from the traditional national frame, and the bringing forth of the profoundly transnational character of memory production. In the introduction, the editors discuss the transnational turn in memory studies by listing the discourses that led to a shift in the understanding of collective/cultural memory from national to global. The most influential of these are the memories of Holocaust and colonialism, entangled with the primacy of human rights, which have an impact on the formation of a global moral order. In addition to widening the understanding of transnational processes that have bound people together across and beyond national borders by diverse economic, political and social exchanges, the editors shift transnationalism to the level of methodological optics. Transnational studies see ‘bounded and bordered social units’ as ‘transnationally constituted, embedded and influenced social arenas’ (p. 5). With regard to the production of cultural memory, this optic allows us to notice the multi-scalar, complex and non-linear character and interconnectedness of the memory creation processes that can be eventually seen as instances of border-making and border-crossing. To make this even more precise, the editors define three main dynamics that underpin transnational memory production: circulation, articulation and scales, around which the articles of the volume are grouped.

Like other cultural processes, in contemporary globalised societies memory production is both mediated and mediatised. This involves not only the discourses and vocabulary of memory but also the recourses by which different narratives and images are communicated to and by different groups and levels. In the section devoted to the circulation of memory, several means of mediation are discussed: filmmaking, international human rights violation reports and surprisingly quilts. The three initial articles (by Astrid Erll, Rosanne Kennedy and Marie-Aude Baronian) concentrate on the material and local processes of memory creation, which communicate the experiences of different groups and locales within the frame of imagery and narratives related to Holocaust. The sufferings and even the annihilation of people that have been experienced in a South African city district, by the Palestinian people, and Armenians during the Armenian genocide are communicated to the wider public with reference to the images and moral obligations created within the conceptualizations of Holocaust, which have now become a universal transnational metaphor of suffering and ‘a global memory imperative’. In all of the cases presented, processes such as deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation, the global circulation of stories, the formation of a transnational public sphere and the production of archives are discussed both theoretically and empirically. In contrast to these essays that concentrate on highly technologised mediums of memory production, the chapter written by Susan Küchler focuses on traditional material culture, namely, quilts from the Cook Islands, and discusses their agency and meaning in the lives of the islanders as mediums of remembrance.

Five essays grouped in the section on articulation are concerned with negotiations of national memory amongst immigrants in Germany (Michael Rothberg), changes in museums and sites of memory caused by antiracist developments in the United States (Paulla A. Ebron), the photographic survey movement in late nineteenth-century Europe (Elizabeth Edwards), attempts to produce a transnational cultural identity by Roma national activists (Slawomir Kapralski) and Socialist era films devoted to the Vietnam war produced by GDR and Cuban filmmakers (Christina Schwenkel). Articulation is used here as a term that portrays the work of ‘assembling’ elements of cultural memories into narratives that can be further mediated, and may also be used to reveal ways in which people and groups engage, link up, articulate with these narratives. Especially from the point of view of migration and ethnicity studies, I found the essay of Michael Rothberg provided new ways of thinking about transnational memory. Instead of portraying memory as a cultural mechanism that connects emigrants with the national community which is left behind by them and thus produces long distance nationalisms, he scrutinises the ways in which migrants can engage in dialogue with the cultural memory of the ‘host society’. His analysis concentrates on a project that introduced Muslim mothers living in Germany with the new practices of remembrance of Holocaust, thus providing them with a platform for performances of citizenship which are marked by memorial criteria. By asking how immigrants should think and relate to the history of the nation, they have moved to (‘what does it mean to immigrate into a history?’, p. 143), Rothberg participates in a theoretical discussion on transnational memory (which in his definition means transcending geo-political borders), transcultural memory (that spans cultural borders) and also the ethics of memory. Transcultural memory is a site of hybridisation and alteration of hegemonic national power and can involve everybody touched by the mobility: those who migrate, ‘natives’ in the country of destination and also those left behind. Because of the ability of migration to create unscripted new linkages of remembrance, the practices and ethics of remembrance on a local level need to be reflected upon. Cultural remembrance has the potential of enhancing exchanges and solidarity between people joined by a location and is an area that should be more often explored and utilised in current multi-/ transcultural societies.

The third section of the book consists of five articles. These articles are brought together by the critical rethinking of the hierarchies of scales of remembering. Chiara de Cesari discusses Palestinian attempts to promote the foundation of a nation-state with the help of the UNESCO’s mechanism of world heritage. Stephan Feuchtwang’s essay ponders the production of an engaging ‘haunting’ memory within collectivities that does not coincide with the borders of the nations involved. Susan Legêne and Martijn Eickhoff analyse photographic museum collections that represent and (mis)interpret Europe’s colonial past. Gal Kin’s essay is devoted to the politics of memory regarding WWII monuments in the former Yugoslavia, and in the final essay, Ann Rigney ponders the EU’s endeavours to establish a new collective memory along old national lines. In all the essays, in one way or another, the nationalisation (of memory) working hand-in-hand with transnational processes is a central theme, and in this respect, the book continues earlier conversations on the paradoxes of the transnational angle in research, which inevitably ends up with attention being given to the national perspective. In continuing the theme of migration and complicated present-day societies, the ideas of Ann Rigney’s article should be brought to the fore. In her analysis of the EU’s politics towards the construction of a ‘European memory’, she argues that more forward-looking ways of thinking about cultural memory could generate new ‘unscripted’ linkages between different scales of memory and thus contribute to the production of new, more inclusive forms of citizenship in a rapidly changing and diversifying Europe.

Although the geographical areas and discourses of remembrance discussed in the book are not new and may sometimes seem to be lacking coherence, the systematically employed transnational optic used in the articles creates a picture of numerous interconnected developments that have shaped and continue to form our understandings of what is worth remembering and also how it should be remembered. The undeniable attribute of this book is its orientation to the future, which is in line with all memory practices. It promotes forward-looking, transformative and non-nostalgic modes of remembrance that would be more in line with complex and multicultural present-day and future societies, where cultural memory could provide us with a dialogical, non-exclusive field of agency.

njmrnjmrnjmrNordic Journal of Migration Research1799-649XDe Gruyternjmr-2016-002210.1515/njmr-2016-0022Book ReviewsBook ReviewsMannilaSimo 99PhD, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Centre for International Affairs, Helsinki182016228201663183191HalonenMia, IhalainenPasi & SaarinenTaina 2015 Language Policies in Finland and Sweden. Interdisciplinary and Multi-sited Comparisons, Bristol: Multilingual Matters. 266 p© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston2016

The book Language Policies in Finland and Sweden, Interdisciplinary and Multi-sited Comparisons consists of nine articles and an epilogue, and it brings together sociolinguists and historians from Finland and Sweden including a final commentary on the book by Professor Muiris Ó Laoire. The articles are targeted to a wider audience and, thus, contain some basic information on Finland and Sweden that is very well known for us in the Nordic countries. In these cases, it, too, neatly sums up historical and political trajectories and contains useful reading. This, whilst describing and discussing the parallel development with its differences and similarities in Finland and Sweden, is the key contribution of the book. The research material of all articles consists of official documents including legislation and political programmes, speeches in the Parliament, church registers, instructions on education and some interview materials.

Several articles draw interesting comparisons between Finland and Sweden. Pasi Ihalainen and Taina Saarinen analyse in their article the Finnish and Swedish legislative processes, Jarmo Lainio describes Swedish language policies for Finnish in Sweden, Mika Lähteenmäki and Sari Pöyhönen discuss the language rights of the Russianspeaking minority in Finland and Mats Wickström describes the ethnic activism and the emergence of new policy discourse on Non-Swedish mother tongues in Sweden in the 1969s and 1970s. Ihalainen and Saarinen show that the defence of the Swedish language in Finland is largely based on legality and references to the Finnish Constitution, and there is some ambiguity in the status of Swedish – on the one hand, it is a ‘state language’, not a ‘minority language’; on the other hand, it is a language of ‘the minority’, thus, somehow excluding other minorities from the discourse. In Sweden, the monolingual standard was not broken until lately: Swedish-only approach was considered as a key means to social integration in a democratic society until the comments from the Council of Europe officially changed this policy. According to Jarmo Lainio, language statistics are lacking in Sweden. This is historically most interesting, because, in general, statistics in Sweden are much better than in Finland.

The fight for the rights of minority languages in Sweden dates back to the 1960s and its immigration waves, with the most important one coming from Finland, as shown by Mats Wickström in his article. It was concentrated on the right to education of mother tongue, denied by politically motivated and scientifically unfounded grounds – here we must bear in mind that equalling bilingualism to semi-lingualism was rather universally accepted in the 1960s, not only in Sweden. According to Lainio, the status of Finnish as a minority language in Sweden is weak even today, despite its formal recognition. Teacher education for minority languages in practice is non-existent and immigration waves coming to Sweden may shift the focus from policies for national minorities towards newcomers, whose integration in the society is considered more problematic (p. 129, 135–136). We may expect a similar policy shift because of the same reasons in Finland, which may bear an influence also on the status of Swedish. There is some political opposition against today’s status of Swedish in Finland, as there is some opposition against the minority language rights in Sweden. In Finland, the opposition is silenced by referring to the Constitution, and in Sweden, by referring to the international image of Sweden. Jarmo Lainio shows the ‘societal ambivalence’ in Sweden pointing out that even when the minority rights are officially recognised, the implementation of legislation is very much lacking.

The comparison between Swedish and Russian language in the Finnish context by Mika Lähteenmäki and Sari Pöyhönen is to some extent problematic, because the history of the two languages in Finland is very different. Finnish history was for centuries done exclusively in Swedish and Finland-Swedish culture brings worldscale writers – Russian language has no similar status in Finnish history and there is no significant Russian-speaking culture in Finland yet. Most interesting parallel between the policies towards Finnish in Sweden and Russian in Finland is shown by the initial style of Finnish international reporting speaking about ‘old’ and ‘new’ Russians, which comes close to the distinction between Meänkieli (as the language of ‘old Finns’) and Finnish (as the language of newcomers), in Sweden. These two are officially defined as different languages, but the distinction between ‘old’ and ‘new’ Russians in Finland was not – quite correctly – internationally endorsed. Lähteenmäki and Pöyhönen find that the status of Russian language in Finland will be followed with a keen eye by both the Council of Europe for the sake of equality policy and the Russian Federation, which is interested in the international status of Russian language as a power instrument for the Russian Federation.

The education system has a key role in the language policy, as shown by the discussion on present teaching of Swedish in Finland and the discussion concerning the pros and cons of bilingual schools. Mia Halonen with her colleagues shows how Swedish in classroom practice is constructed as a foreign language spoken from Sweden or Åland, and this happens surprisingly in Helsinki City centre. Bilingual schools debate in Finland is addressed in the book by Sally Boyd and Åsa Palviainen. This is not a language issue solely: there has been an idea that bilingual Swedish–Finnish schools would promote Nordic culture and values, and there would be benefits for both language groups, if the education is well planned and organised. The contents of the debate have shifted from the defence of Swedish to discussing benefits for Finnish-speakers. The book does not elaborate the different meanings that bilingualism may have: a state with two languages does not mean that the people are bilingual (cf. Switzerland). When we speak about bilingualism, are we already speaking about a society dominated by one language either in principle (Sweden) or in practice (Finland)?

The book promotes interdisciplinary and constructivist approach in research. Some of the comments by the authors on links between academic subjects are startlingly true: history and linguistics are close for the simple fact that research in history is mainly based on written documents. For someone who is a linguist, the book contains a great deal of complex theorising, and argumentation for a new approach to language policy research, probably designed to break intra- or interdisciplinary barriers. ‘Multi-sited’, a key concept of the book, seems to indicate that language as well as language policy are constituted at various levels and various locations by agency, and this is in opposition to a mainly top-down understanding of policy. In short, this is telling us that linguistics is not (only) research into norms and their exceptions, it admits that the real life of language and also policy are constituted in everyday practice. This sounds good, almost self-evident. Besides the theoretical and methodological article by Mia Halonen and her colleagues drafting the general approach in the first chapter of the book, the somewhat complimentary epilogue by Muiris O Laoire is very useful reading, describing the scientific context of the book once again with some of the latest development of sociolinguistics. Constructivism is most certainly a useful approach, although for a social scientist it does not sound a new paradigm.

njmrnjmrnjmrNordic Journal of Migration Research1799-649XDe Gruyternjmr-2016-002210.1515/njmr-2016-0022Book ReviewsBook ReviewsSakellariouAlexandros 1010Post-doctoral researcher, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences of Athens, Department of Sociology, Greece182016228201663183191LeursKoen 2015 Digital Passages: Migrant Youth 2.0. Diaspora, Gender, and Youth Cultural Intersections, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 324 pp© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston2016

The so-called refugee crisis during the summer of 2015 gave rise to heated debates regarding Muslim migrants in European societies and their ability to become part of the European culture and mentality, putting the multicultural model under severe pressure. Furthermore, the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in January and in November 2015 and at the same time, the rise of extreme-right radical circles and political parties, which seem to play a protagonist role in the European political sphere during the last years, create a climate of fear concerning migrants and refugees. As a consequence, the discussion about migrants even of second or third generation has come to the fore and many questions have been asked on their background, their identity and their will to become European citizens.

The book under review tries to address such questions having a special focus on Moroccan-Dutch youth in the Netherlands. The author, Koen Leurs, is a Marie-Currie postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science and also affiliated with the Institute for Cultural Inquiry and the Graduate Gender Program at the Utrecht University. The book is based on the author’s doctoral thesis, which was part of a wider research project entitled: Wired Up: Digital Media as Innovative Socialization Practices for Migrant Youth. The analysis is based primarily on qualitative data derived from 43 in-depth semistructured interviews and from virtual ethnography and text analysis but is also enriched by the quantitative data collected during the Wired Up project from 1,408 school students.

The book consists of an Introduction, five chapters and a concluding chapter, followed by an appendix with brief presentations of all the 43 informants who participated in this research. Whilst the introduction sets the ground for the analysis that follows, the first chapter discusses methodological issues, for example, the methodology used during the research project, the quantitative and qualitative parameters of the research and virtual ethnography. The four following chapters present the findings of the research and are divided based on the digital space each time examined. For example, Chapter 2 focuses on Internet forums, particularly on two Moroccan-Dutch forums; Chapter 3 on Instant Messaging; Chapter 4 on the platforms of Hyves and Facebook; and Chapter 5 on YouTube.

In Chapter 2, the author argues that the Internet forums as frequented by Moroccan-Dutch youth are safe arenas to form counterpublics and exert agency. The main argument is that Moroccan-Dutch youth appropriate the medium-specific particularities of Internet forums in order to shape these counter-publics through which they forge community relations and establish their own shared space to counteract. Through this process, they re-construct their identities at the crossroads of ethnicity, gender and religion. As shown in the analysis, the forums examined are perceived as safe spaces to practice piety and alternative forms of religious agency. Furthermore, the author argues that Moroccan-Dutch youth show their aim to renegotiate multiculturalism, gender dictums and the post-secular revival of religion to eventually co-shape a more inclusive, cosmopolitan public sphere attuned to the everyday needs of a growing multicultural youth generation (pp. 139–140).

In Chapter 3, the author studies the performance of the self in the field site of Instant Messaging whilst he also aims for a theoretical refinement of the understandings of the medium and the distinct processes of adoption by its users. Leurs argues that Moroccan-Dutch youth and especially girls in their quotidian interaction with the digital realm carve out a communicative space of their own. The interviewees argued that they maintain their own private networked territory because they themselves control its boundaries. According to the author, experimenting with relationships and rehearsing personal identities, they are empowered, expanding the parameters of their social and physical worlds through instant messaging whilst navigating between conflicting familial, gendered, religious and ethno-cultural motivations (p. 172).

Chapter 4 examines the interviewees’ selfies and hypertextual selves on social networking sites. The main outcome of this analysis is that Moroccan-Dutch youth turn to more positive experiences such as identification with their descent and/or their religion in social networking sites, but they are also inspired by global youth culture. The informants follow critical cues of their peers about what to show in their profile photos and the author argues that popularity and attractiveness explain the ideals of stereotypically gendered selfies.

The final chapter focuses on the YouTube and the conclusion is that the informants mostly watched two genres of videos: On the one hand, user-generated videos shot in Morocco that may sustain feelings of transnational diaspora belonging, and on the other hand, commercial music videos that may produce feelings of attachment to local, national and global youth culture. As most of the informants are born in the diaspora, Morocco becomes mostly a virtual entity because second-generation migrants experience their homeland mainly through mediation, but at the same time, they encounter ethnic absolutism and nationalism by affectively belonging in different geographies.

According to the author, Moroccan-Dutch youth, mostly born in the Netherlands, navigate digital spaces to articulate their politicised identities in a time when claims over the failure of multiculturalism, anti-migration sentiments and Islamophobia rise throughout Europe. As a consequence, the book addresses not only how these mostly second-generation migrants navigate across digital spaces but also considers the digitisation of key-identity formation processes, such as coming of age, rites of passage and the negotiation of offline/ online gender, diaspora, religious and youth cultural expectations (p. 14). In his concluding chapter, Leurs argues that the key to a culture of conviviality lies in the recognition that European culture is more than a monolithic and homogeneous white culture. A greater insight into everyday dwelling of minority groups such as second-generation Moroccan-Dutch youth – beyond the manipulations of political leaders and commerce – may serve to counter anti-migrant and racist perspectives in European societies. I agree with the author when he states that these counter histories can not only help to produce a new understanding of multicultural and post-colonial Europe but can also contribute to discover the emancipatory cosmopolitan possibilities of convivial culture to remedy xenophobia and neo-imperialism. I also agree that more research on digital thrown-togetherness, intercultural encounters and cosmopolitanism is urgent to continue speaking back to pessimists who argue that multiculturalism and integration have failed.

However, on the other hand, a point of criticism might be that the author presents an ideal image of second-generation migrants, despite the existing problems of social integration in many European societies that in some cases are of a very serious character, for example, in the case of Muslim youth being radicalised and becoming fighters of the so-called Islamic State. Furthermore, whilst analysis like the one Leurs conducts on digital identities are indeed useful in order to get an overview of second- and third-generation migrants, they should always be followed by offline studies and observation. At the bottom line, it could be argued that this book is a very innovative endeavour that brings together gender studies, youth cultural studies, migration and religious studies and, in addition, theories on the field of digital communication and virtual ethnography. One might argue that bringing together all these theoretical and research fields is not legitimate, but in my view, the author manages to offer an insightful analysis, despite any secondary objections. Another question could be why the author decided to present his findings based on each platform studied during the research and not thematically based on what came out from virtual ethnography and the interviews. Finally, I understand that such detailed descriptions of the survey conducted in the methodological chapter might be useful for the researcher, but one could argue that should be avoided because it does not interest all the readers.

In my view, this book is a very useful tool for researchers, students and policymakers if they wish to get another side of an issue that will concern the European public sphere in the years to come. To these debates, the only answer is more well-established research away from ideological and political influences, and this book is a good basis for further studies and analyses.

njmrnjmrnjmrNordic Journal of Migration Research1799-649XDe Gruyternjmr-2016-002210.1515/njmr-2016-0022Book ReviewsBook ReviewsHärmäläMarita 1111PhD, Docent, Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland182016228201663183191LuYing, SamaratungeRamanie & HärtelCharmine E. J. 2015 Skilled Migration, Expectation and Reality. Chinese Professionals and the Global Labour Market, Farnham: Gower. 204 pp© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston2016

It is widely acknowledged that immigrants face problems when entering a new host country: they are over-qualified, lack work experience, or in some other way, fail to meet host country’s occupational entry requirements. In addition, their language skills may be deficient, and they have difficulties in adjusting to the behavioural norms and cultural values at host countries. As workplaces are becoming increasingly multicultural, both governments and organisations need more insights not only into the benefits but also to the challenges that increasing diversity brings to the workplace. This volume, therefore, makes an important contribution to the field of acculturation and migration studies. It explores the preferred acculturation options that first-generation professional Chinese immigrants (PCIs) have when entering the Australian workplace, and how these wishes are actually put into practice. The book scrutinises experiences that the PCIs have in everyday life in relation to job satisfaction, affective workgroup commitment and work engagement.

The book consists of eight chapters, which follow a fairly traditional research report structure. After introducing the subject, the authors provide the theoretical background, develop the hypothesis and then explain the methodological choices made. The remaining 100 pages are dedicated to a detailed description of the results and conclusions. The structure of the book is easily accessible. The authors, Yiun Lu from the Macquarie University and Ramanie Samaratunge from the Monash University are both experienced researchers in cross-cultural management and international human resource management. The third author, Charmine E. J. Härtel from the University of Queensland, is a professor of HRM and organisational development. Her research interests include workplace well-being, social inclusion and crosscultural relations. The authors’ expertise and perhaps own experience of the topic is, therefore, clearly displayed in the text throughout the book.

Australia is an ideal context for the study as immigration has always been a central part of Australian nation building (p. 2). Since the late 1980s, it is in particular skilled immigration that has been favoured by the state because of its expected benefits to the nation’s economic growth and social development. Even though most of the overseas born population in Australia come from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, the third biggest group are the Chinese. Chinese immigrants currently represent 13% of all professionals with a strong concentration in Melbourne and Sydney. Chinese professionals’ acculturation to Australia in different domains, such as friendship, social contacts, family and workplace has not been systematically studied before and the study at hand is, therefore, a pioneer study in this area.

The research data for the study were gathered both quantitatively and qualitatively. The questionnaire survey, which was aimed at exploring the PCIs preferred acculturation options, was answered by 220 PCIs. The qualitative data were gathered to investigate the PCIs acculturation strategies and consisted of 23 face-to-face or telephone interviews. Both the survey respondents and the interviewees had been living in Australia on an average 12 years, their mean age was 43–44 years and slightly more than half of them were male. The representative data were analysed by using a mixed-method approach.

The study uses as its theoretical framework John Berry’s (1997) model of four acculturation attitudes expanding it to different life domains, including cultural identity, social contacts, cultural customs and family relations (p. 158).

An individual’s complete absorption into the host culture is called assimilation. In contrast, when the individual wishes to maintain their cultural identity and, consequently, does not consider the relationships with the very important host culture, they adopt a separation attitude. The third option, integration, applies to an individual who wishes to maintain their original culture and also accepts the daily interactions with the host cultural groups. Finally, an individual with a marginalisation attitude loses their original culture without establishing ties with the new culture. Even though these four options exist in theory, in practice, immigrants are seldom free to choose by themselves (p. 165). Acculturation options can be predicted both by individual and societal factors, such as age at migration, gender, length of residence in the host country, education in the host country, working experience outside home country, language proficiency, perceived social status at work, self-construal and perceived workgroup diversity climate. All these factors impact on job satisfaction, affective workgroup commitment and work engagement.

In previous studies, integration has according to the authors (p. 160) been perceived as the most common acculturation strategy that immigrants believe they have put into practice in the host society. The results of the current study differ, however, from this viewpoint. Amongst PCIs, the separation strategy was more popular than integration even though the quantitative survey demonstrated that about half of the PCIs wished to integrate and assimilate. The prevalence of separation strategy is explained by the strong ethnic identity and national pride that the Chinese people have. Wish to maintain heritage culture does not necessarily prohibit PCIs from adapting to a workplace, because they can negotiate identities according to different situations at hand by ‘enacting Australian values while remaining Chinese’ (p. 160).

Amongst the PCIs, the acculturation experience in the workplace is influenced by personal reasons, such as personality and English proficiency, as well as workplace-related factors, such as contacts with colleagues, social support and leadership. Amongst the participants, good colloquial mainstream language ability was connected to the assimilation option, as it allows for broader social networks with the host group, better promotion possibilities and positive job-related outcomes in general. After work, the PCIs do, however, prefer socialising with their own ethnic group. One possible reason for this, according to the authors, is that the PCIs do not feel comfortable with Australians’ way of valuing privacy, which differs considerably from the Chinese way of thinking. At work, the PCIs appreciate modesty and working silently instead of making trouble. This behaviour has a clear cultural background: saving face (mianzi) is highly valued and losing face highly humiliating.

The book offers an interesting variety of insights into the differences between Australian and Chinese cultures. One of these is Confucianism, which explains the importance that the Chinese put on familial relationships and filial piety. In China, interpersonal relationships are important and nurturing relationships (quanzi) operate on a reciprocal basis. In Australia, on the contrary, individualism, self-reliance and personal accomplishment prevail. Communication patterns also differ across cultures; Australia is, for instance, a typical low-context culture, which means that messages are individualistic and explicitly coded, whereas in China, emphasis is on non-verbal codes, shared knowledge and collectivism.

Overall, the book succeeds in giving an illustrative, detailed overview of the Chinese immigrants’ acculturation challenges in Australian working life. The examples drawn from the Australian context may then be worked on when designing similar studies with different ethnic groups and different hosting countries. I personally favoured most the qualitative analysis of the interview data, whereas the rigorous quantitative analysis would perhaps be better suited for readers familiar with the multiple statistical tests and measures. The mixed methods approach does, however, contribute to the overall quality of the study.

What I missed most in the book was a deeper discussion of the whole idea of nation state, including its methodological nationalism. How valid framework is Berry’s model for describing today’s multinational, multicultural and multilingual societies? To what extent is it still relevant motivated to talk about the Australians, the Chinese and so on as clearly separate nationalities, or should we rather see ourselves as members of a larger world society (Wimmer & Glick Schiller 2002)? In sum, is migration background alone sufficient to explain differences between individuals?

As acculturation is an ongoing process (p. 170), more information is constantly needed about the different phases, different target groups and different contexts. This book serves as a highly recommendable reference to any of such studies. Even if Berry’s acculturation model is perhaps no longer the best option to describing immigrants’ integration to a new host country, it may still serve as an additional approach to analysing the data gathered in some other research focusing on similar issues. For the growing body of migration studies currently undertaken in the Nordic countries, the volume gives inspiring insights for analysing different workplace cultures and the role of language proficiency in different life domains from a migrant’s perspective.

Reference

  • Berry, JW 1997, ‘Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation’, Applied Psychology: An International Review, vol. 46 no. 1, pp. 5–68. Google Scholar

  • Duchêne, A, Moyer, M & Roberts, C 2013, Language, Migration and Social Inequalities A critical sociolinguistic perspective on institutions and work. Multilingual Matters, Bristol/Buffalo/Toronto.Google Scholar

  • Wimmer, A & Glick Schiller, N 2002, ‘Methodological nationalism and beyond: nation-state building, migration and the social sciences’, Global Networks vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 301–334. Google Scholar

njmrnjmrnjmrNordic Journal of Migration Research1799-649XDe Gruyternjmr-2016-002210.1515/njmr-2016-0022Book ReviewsBook ReviewsHeinikoskiSaila 1212PhD Candidate in Political Science, University of Turku, Finland182016228201663183191MantuSandra 2015 Contingent Citizenship: The Law and Practice of Citizenship Deprivation in International, European and National Perspectives, Leiden: Brill Nijhoff. 385 pp© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston2016

Sandra Mantu’s book Contingent Citizenship is based on her doctoral thesis and deals with the deprivation of citizenship, which she approaches from a legal perspective in the international and European context. In addition to introducing the international (Chapter 2) and European (Chapters 3 and 4) standards of citizenship deprivation, her three case studies analyse citizenship deprivation practices in the United Kingdom (Chapter 5), France (Chapter 6) and Germany (Chapter 7). The book is a comprehensive presentation of an underresearched topic, and the author has reviewed an impressive amount of legislation and court cases where citizenship deprivation was concerned. Moreover, the study provides an historical perspective on this topical subject, which illustrates how citizenship deprivation has become increasingly securitised and presented as a privilege that can be lost.

An ambitious task of the author is to discuss the relation between the European Union (EU) citizenship and citizenship policies in the national context. Although EU citizenship is centred on the right to free movement (e.g. Maas 2014: 800), citizenship deprivation in an EU Member State raises the question of whether European citizenship should be taken into account in such policies. It currently appears that EU citizens and third-country nationals (TCN) are differently approached in citizenship deprivation cases, because the EU law protects mainly people whose citizens hold nationalities of two EU countries or their country of origin is in another EU Member State (p. 338).

Particularly in the current context after the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, the deprivation of citizenship on terrorist grounds has become a more acute question. Of course, one essential issue is whether people can be returned to their countries of origin. The crucial point in the book consists in state sovereignty, which seems to overrule when compared to individual rights (p. 68). International agreements insist that no person should be made stateless as a result of citizenship deprivation, but this has been circumvented in the United Kingdom, where security measures may override people being made stateless after the new Act adopted in 2014 (p. 199). Court cases have also ruled that people may be made stateless if they still continue enjoying some citizenship rights such as right to residence and a permit to work. As many cases of citizenship deprivation concern criminal or terrorist activities, it can be questioned whether ne bis in idem rule1 is applicable in the cases of citizenship deprivation (p. 20). In France at least, it appears that citizenship deprivation is considered an administrative act; hence, citizenship deprivation is not considered to constitute a ne bis in idem case (p. 275).

The author suggests that rising number of TCNs in the European Union may result in more harmonisation in EU naturalisation policies, which currently is under national discretion (p. 12). The question of citizenship deprivation is particularly interesting in TCN cases, because they are often such dual citizens or naturalised immigrants who may be subject to citizenship deprivation. However, it is not always easy to determine when such persons may lose their citizenship and how they can appeal. For example, in the UK case, the author argues that naturalised British citizens may have poorer procedural rights than people with an indefinite leave to remain (p. 222). Moreover, although the person who has been made non-citizen may not have a place to return to, only Germany out of the discussed countries provides the possibility to apply for a residence permit in such a case (p. 306).

The European Union has also been able to influence some naturalisation policies in the Member States, at least indirectly. The author of the book suggests that the EU approves of policies based on ethnic citizenship and therefore allows determining rather strict requirements for immigrants to obtain citizenship (p. 143). Moreover, the Union has ruled that citizenship should not be sold with too low a price and has created permanent residence permit in the EU area after five years of residence in any Member State (p. 145). Despite of these harmonisation efforts, it appears that the three largest EU Member States discussed in the book have very diverging citizenship, naturalisation and deprivation practices.

For example, whilst people may be made stateless in the United Kingdom on national security grounds, that should not be possible in France and Germany. Moreover, dual nationality is prohibited in Germany and naturalisation is much based on ius sanguinis, blood relations, which makes naturalisation of immigrants more difficult. Whilst the policy in France is more based on ius solis, that is, immigrants may be more easily granted citizenship on the basis of residence, immigrants in these two countries are in very different situations. In the United Kingdom and France, there are also possibilities to deprive citizenship on the basis of national security, whilst the German approach emphasises security mainly in the process of naturalisation. The diverging situations should also be of concern in the current situation when the European Union has decided to distribute asylum-seekers evenly in the EU Member States. Owing to the differing practices in immigrant rights, persons located in different countries may effectively have diverse possibilities in obtaining residence permits and citizenship, because the requirements for having national (and thus European Union) citizenship diverge enormously (see also Strumia 2013: 63–81).

Although the book is a great presentation of the legal framework, it could have benefited from a more wide-ranging and interdisciplinary approach to citizenship policies. For example, the issues of identity and group membership in relation to citizenship receive little attention in the book. The author has a critical approach towards the policies, but a cursory glance to the wider policies of citizenship deprivation could have made the perspective more extensive. Whilst the three largest Member States have such diverging practices, one would assume that the European Union of 28 Member States includes much more different approaches. The three cases were selected ‘because of changes brought to the power to take away citizenship after rather long periods of inactivity in this field’ (p. 23) and are apparently not supposed to represent the entire European Union but provide examples of how citizenship deprivation policies have progressed in certain states.

The book is a contribution to a wider discussion on citizenship and immigration, although broader contexts are not discussed in detail. Only in the introductory chapter, the author presents some previous discussion on citizenship, but she does not elaborate the results of the study to the wider debate, such as that concerning citizenship ‘as a right to have rights’ (Arendt 1951). As legal studies usually do, she uses footnotes in remarkable amounts in which she refers to legal documents and previous legal studies on the topic. Then again, the fact that the author mainly sticks to the facts instead of taking a normative perspective to the topic contributes to making the book easily approachable.

The book can be recommended to anyone interested in citizenship deprivation policies especially in the EU context. The discussion is detailed when it comes to different acts and court cases with regard to citizenship deprivation policies, and the author masters well the discussed topics. It is a valuable contribution to citizenship discussion and also a useful reading for social scientists, who sometimes may forget the institutional settings that limit the societies they are examining. The book points out that although the question of citizenship deprivation concerns very few cases per year, the countries appear to put much resources in legislating citizenship deprivation, increasingly in recent years. The author succeeds in presenting a fresh perspective to citizenship policies, where the recent development in the citizenship deprivation practices reflects a securitising trend and the conception of citizenship as a privilege.

Reference

  • Arendt, H 1951, The origins of totalitarianism, Harcourt, New York. Google Scholar

  • Maas, W 2014, ‘The Origins, Evolution, and Political Objectives of EU Citizenship’, German Law Journal vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 797–820. Google Scholar

  • Strumia, F 2013, Supranational Citizenship and the Challenge of Diversity: Immigrants, Citizens, and Member States in the EU, Brill, Leiden. Google Scholar

Footnotes

  • 1

    Interdicting two punishments in the same offense. 

About the article

Published Online: 2016-08-22

Published in Print: 2016-08-01


Citation Information: Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 183–191, ISSN (Online) 1799-649X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/njmr-2016-0022.

Export Citation

© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in