A Cosmopolitan Explanation of the Integration Paradox: A Mixed-Methods Approach

Nella Geurts , Radboud University Nijmegen
Tine Davids, Radboud University Nijmegen
Marcel Lubbers, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute NIDI
Niels Spierings, Radboud University Nijmegen

Recent studies have found that higher-educated migrants experience less belonging to the destination country than lower-educated migrants, which has been dubbed the integration paradox. This finding has been considered counterintuitive, as it opposes the assumption of a linear assimilation process. Previous research has not resulted in clear-cut answers on the presence of this paradox, and accordingly the need for underlying mechanisms is stressed. This paper zooms in on the role of cosmopolitanism in the integration paradox. It builds on Ten Teije, Coenders, and Verkuyten (2013) who suggested that higher-educated migrants have a more cosmopolitan worldview than lower-educated migrants which would result in a lower sense of belonging to the destination country. This possible explanation of the paradox has been left untheorized and empirically untested. We explore this mechanism for recent Turkish migrants in the Netherlands. We do so using a mixed-methods triangulation approach. First, we study to what extent the previously found negative effect of education is explained by a cosmopolitan identity using survey data of the New Immigrants Survey (NIS2NL). Subsequently, we use in-depth interviews with Turkish migrants (N=32) sampled from NIS2NL to understand the found results and study whether these results match migrants’ realities. Preliminary results using survey data indicate no support for the dominant literature which would predict that a cosmopolitan identity explains an integration paradox. In-depth interviews back this finding, illustrating that the association between being a cosmopolitan and feeling belonging to the Netherlands is not deemed to be negative but can be positive as well.

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 Presented in Session 70. Migrant Populations