What Works? Family Influences on Occupational Aspirations among Descendants of Middle Eastern Immigrants on the Swedish Labour Market
In this article, we examine family influences on occupational aspirations among employed descendants of Middle Eastern immigrants. Using a qualitative approach, we conducted 21 semi-structured interviews with native-born descendants of Middle Eastern immigrants. We present and analyse their interpretations of their parents’ experiences and living conditions before, during and after migration and demonstrate how these interpretations shaped their own occupational aspirations. We discuss parents’ high expectations of their children in relation to ethnic-community valuations of educational and occupational achievements. These high expectations may increase the chances of social mobility but can also become a negative pressure, especially if parents set high standards but cannot help their children to meet those expectations. In these cases, older siblings who possess valuable knowledge of the educational system and labour market can function as important transferrers of resources.
Ahmadi, F., & Palm, I. (2018). Mångfaldsbarometern 2018. Gävle: Gävle University Press. Retrieved from https://www.hig.se/download/18.321e5b271641cca84643f3ba/1534110403023/M%C3%A5ngfaldsbarometern_2018.pdf
Ahmadi, F., Palm, I., & Ahmadi, N. (2016). Mångfaldsbarometern 2016. Gävle: Gävle University Press. Retrieved from http://hig.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1085307/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Ahmadi, N. (1998). Om jaguppfattningens betydelse för tolkningen av sociala roller. In N. Ahmadi (Ed.), Ungdom, kulturmöten, identitet (pp. 56–87). Stockholm: Liber.
Arai, M., & Vilhelmsson, R. (2004). Unemployment-risk differentials between immigrant and native workers in Sweden. Industrial Relations, 43(3), 690–698.
Ayçiçegi-Dinn, A., & Caldwell-Harris, C. L. (2011). Individualism-collectivism among Americans, Turks and Turkish immigrants to the U.S. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(1), 9–16.
Bankston, C., III., & Zhou, M. (2002). Being well vs. doing well: Self-esteem and school performance among immigrant and non-immigrant racial and ethnic groups. International Migration Review, 36(2), 389–415.
Bean, F. D., Brown, S. K., Bachmeier, J. D., Fokkema, T., & Lessard-Phillips, L. (2012). The dimensions and degree of second-generation incorporation in US and European cities: A comparative study of inclusion and exclusion. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 53(3), 181–209.
Beck, U., & Beck-Gernsheim, E. (2009). Losing the traditional: Individualization and 'precarious freedoms'. In A. Elliot & P. du Gay (Eds.), Identity in Question (pp.13–36). London: Sage.
Behtoui, A. (2006). Unequal Opportunities: The Impact of Social Capital and Recruitment Methods on Immigrants and Their Children in the Swedish Labour Market (Doctoral dissertation). Linköping University, Linköping. Retrieved from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7789
Bodovski, K., Jeon, H., & Byun, S. (2017). Cultural capital and academic achievement in post-socialist Eastern Europe. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 38(6), 887–907.
Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (pp. 241–258). Westport, CT: Greenwood.
Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1979). The Inheritors: French Students and Their Relation to Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Broady, D. (1998). Kapitalbegreppet som utbildningssociologiskt verktyg. [The Concept of Capital as a Tool for Sociology of Education]. Skeptronhäften/Skeptron Occasional Papers 15. Uppsala Universitet. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:328806/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Bryman, A. (2012). Social Research Methods (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Carlsson, M. (2010). Experimental evidence of discrimination in the hiring of first- and second-generation immigrants. Labour: Review of Labour Economics & Industrial Relations, 24(3), 263–278.
Coyne, I. T. (1997). Sampling in qualitative research. Purposeful and theoretical sampling; Merging or clear boundaries? Journal of Advanced Nursing, 26(3), 623–630.
Crivello, G. (2015). 'There's no future here': The time and place of children's migration aspirations in Peru. Geoforum, 62, 38–46.
Crul, M., Jennifer, H., Helga de Valk, N. F., & Zaal, M. (2013). Educating the children of immigrants in Old and New Amsterdam. In R. Alba & J. Holdaway (Eds.), The Children of Immigrants at School: A Comparative Look at Integration in the United States and Western Europe (pp. 39–83). New York: NYU Press.
Crul, M., & Mollenkopf, J. (2012). The second generation. In M. Crul & J. Mollenkopf (Eds.), The Changing Face of World Cities: Young Adult Immigrants in Europe and the United States (pp. 3–25). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Crul, M., Schneider, J., Keskiner, E., & Lelie, F. (2017). The multiplier effect: How the accumulation of cultural and social capital explains steep upward social mobility of children of low-educated immigrants. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(2), 321–338.
Dreby, J., & Stutz, L. (2012). Making something of the sacrifice: Gender, migration and Mexican children's educational expectations. Global Networks, 12(1), 71–90.
Dubois A., & Gadde, L. E. (2002). Systematic combining: An abductive approach to case research. Journal of Business Research, 55(2), 553–560.
Dumais, S. A. (2002). Cultural capital, gender and school success: The role of habitus. Sociology of Education, 75(1), 44–68.
Emirbayer, M., & Williams, E. M. (2005). Bourdieu and social work. Social Service Review, 79(4), 689–724.
Feliciano, C., & Lanuza, Y. R. (2016). The immigrant advantage in adolescent educational expectations. International Migration Review, 50(3), 758–792.
Fontana, A., & Frey, J. H. (2008). The interview: From neutral stance to political involvement. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Material (pp. 115–160). California: Sage.
Friese, S. (2014). Qualitative Data Analysis with ATLAS.ti (2nd ed.). London: Sage.
Gang, I. N., & Zimmermann, K. F. (2000). Is child like parent? Educational attainment and ethnic origin. Journal of Human Resources, 35(3), 550–569.
Gordon, J. A., & Liu, X. (2015). Bridging home and host country: Educational predispositions of Chinese and Indian recent immigrant families. International Journal of Multicultural Education, 17(3), 21–36.
Gorodzeisky, A., & Semyonov, M. (2017). Labor force participation, unemployment and occupational attainment among immigrants in West European countries. PLoS ONE, 12(5), 1–22.
Government Offices of Denmark (2016). Samarbejde om bedre integration. Retrieved from https://www.fm.dk/~/media/publikationer/imported/2016/samarbejde-om-bedre-integration/samarbejde-om-bedre-integration.ashx
Government Offices of Sweden (2015). Jämlik skola. Retrieved from http://www.regeringen.se/regeringens-politik/regeringens-prioriteringar/mer-kunskap-och-okad-jamlikhet-i-skolan/jamlik-skola/
Grønseth, A. S. (2010). Lost Selves, Lonely Persons: Experiences of Illness and Wellbeing in Norway. London: Berghahn Books.
Heath, A. (2010). Main determinants of educational and labour market outcomes. In OECD, Equal Opportunities? The Labour Market Participation of the Children of Immigrants (pp. 115–127). Paris: OECD Publishing.
Hermansen, A. S. (2013). Occupational attainment among children of immigrants in Norway. Bottlenecks into employment – equal access to advantaged positions? European Sociological Review 29(3), 517–534.
Hofferth, S. L., & Moon, U. J. (2016). How do they do it? The immigrant paradox in the transition to adulthood. Social Science Research, 57, 177–194.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Holt, D. B. (1998). Does cultural capital structure American consumption? Journal of Consumer Research, 25(1), 1–25.
Iacono, V. L., Symonds, P., & Brown, D. H. K. (2016). Skype as a tool for qualitative research interviews. Sociological Research Online, 21(2), 12.
Jæger, M. M., & Breen, R. (2016). A dynamic model of cultural reproduction. American Journal of Sociology, 121(4), 1079–1115.
Kao, G., & Tienda, M. (1995). Optimism and achievement: The educational performance of immigrant youth. Social Science Quarterly, 76(1), 1–19.
Konyali, A. (2017). International opportunities on the way up: Alternative career paths of descendants of immigrants from Turkey in the field of professional business services. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(2), 264–282.
Koopmans, R. (2010). Trade-offs between equality and difference: Immigrant integration, multiculturalism and the welfare state in cross-national perspective. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(1), 1–26.
Lemaître, G. (2007). The integration of immigrants into the labour market: The case of Sweden. OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 48. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Liebig, T., & Widmaier, S. (2009). Children of immigrants in the labour markets of EU and OECD countries: An overview. OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 97. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Lindgren, J. (2016). Diaspora biographies balancing ideology and utopia: On future orientations of immigrant youth in a segregated Sweden: Preamble: Optics, young people's life trajectories and the school crisis. In G. B. Wärvik, C. Runesdotter, E. Forsberg, B. Hasselgren, & F. Sahlström (Eds.), Skola, lärare, samhälle: vänbok till Sverker Lindblad (pp. 131–152). Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet.
Louie, V. (2004). Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education and Opportunity among Chinese Americans. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Louie, V. (2012). Keeping the Immigrant Bargain: The Costs and Rewards of Success in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Luthra, R. R., & Soehl, T. (2015). From parent to child? Transmission of educational attainment within immigrant families: Methodological considerations. Demography, 52(2), 543–567.
Luthra, R. R., & Waldinger, R. (2013). Intergenerational mobility among immigrants and their descendants. In D. Card & S. Raphael (Eds.), Immigration, Poverty and Social Mobility. New York: Russell Sage.
Merz, E.-M., Özeke-Kocabas, E., Oort, F. J., & Schuengel, C. (2009). Intergenerational family solidarity: Value differences between immigrant groups and generations. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(3), 291–300.
Nohl, A. M., Schittenhelm, K., Schmidtke, O., & Weiss, A. (2014). Work in Transition: Cultural Capital and Highly Skilled Migrants' Passages into the Labour Market. London: University of Toronto Press.
Nordiska ministerrådet (2012). Den nordiska modellen i en ny tid. Program för Sveriges ordförandeskap i Nordiska ministerrådet 2013. Köpenhamn: Det nordiska samarbetet.
Norwegian Government Offices (2016). Jobbsjansen. Retrieved from https://www.regjeringen.no/no/tema/innvandring/integrering/introduksjonslov-og-arbeid/jobbsjansen/id2343473/
OECD (2016). Working Together: Skills and Labour Market Integration of Immigrants and Their Children in Sweden. Paris: OECD Publishing.
OECD (2017). Catching Up? Intergenerational Mobility and Children of Immigrants. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Panda, M. (2012). Culture, discursive practices and literacy work in families: Why is mathematics important to Indian immigrants in UK? Psychology and Developing Societies, 24(2), 161–180.
Phalet, K., & Schönpflug, U. (2001). Intergenerational transmission in Turkish immigrant families: Parental collectivism, achievement values and gender differences. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 32(4), 489–504.
Portes, A., & Zhou, M. (1993). The new second generation: Segmented assimilation and its variants. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 530, 74–96.
Rambaree, K., & Faxelid, E. (2013). Considering abductive thematic network analysis with ATLAS.ti 6.2. In N. Sappleton (Ed.), Advancing Research Methods with New Technologies (pp. 170–186). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Redford, J., Johnson, J. A., & Honnold, J. (2009). Parenting practices, cultural capital and educational outcomes: The effects of concerted cultivation on academic achievement. Race, Gender & Class, 16(1/2), 25–44.
Rezai, S. (2017). Self-made lawyers? Pathways of socially mobile descendants of migrants from Turkey in Europe. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(2), 230–246.
Robb, N., Dunkley, L., Boynton, P., & Greenhalgh, T. (2007.) Looking for a better future: Identity construction in socio-economically deprived 16-year-olds considering a career in medicine. Social Science and Medicine, 65(4), 738–754.
Rooth, D.-O., & Ekberg, J. (2003). Unemployment and earnings for second-generation immigrants in Sweden. Ethnic background and parent composition. Journal of Population Economics, 16(4), 787–814.
Rothbaum, F., & Trommsdorff, G. (2007). Do roots and wings complement or oppose one another? The socialization of relatedness and autonomy in cultural context. In J. E. Grusec & P. Hastings (Eds.), The Handbook of Socialization. (pp. 461–489). New York: Guilford Press.
Rudy, D., & Grusec, J.-E. (2006). Authoritarian parenting in individualistic and collectivist groups: Associations with maternal emotion and cognition and children's self-esteem. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(1), 68–78.
Sania Ali, S., Dahlstedt, M., & Hertzberg, F. (2018). Arbete och övergångar. Viljan att bidra. In M. Dahlstedt (Ed.), Förortsdrömmar: Ungdomar, utanförskap och viljan till inkludering. Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press.
Schröder, L. (2010). Labour Market Characteristics and Their Impact on the Integration of Immigrants' Offspring. Paris: OECD Publishing.
Segendorf, Å.-O., & Teljosuo, T. (2011). Sysselsättning för invandrare – en ESO-rapport om arbetsmarknadsintegration (Report No. 2011:5) Retrieved from http://eso.expertgrupp.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/2011-5-till-webben.pdf
Sernhede, O. (2007). Alienation is My Nation: Hiphop och unga mäns utanförskap i Det nya Sverige. Stockholm: Ordfront.
Silverman, D. (2015). Interpreting Qualitative Data (5th ed.). London: Sage.
Solon, G. (1999). Intergenerational mobility in the labour market. In O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (Eds.), Handbook of Labor Economics (Vol. 3). Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Spierings, N. (2015). Gender equality attitudes among Turks in Western Europe and Turkey: The interrelated impact of migration and parents' attitudes. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 41(5), 749–771.
Statistics Sweden (2010). Born in Sweden – But Still Different? The Significance of Parents' Country of Birth. (Report No. 2010:2) Retrieved from http://www.scb.se/statistik/_publikationer/be0701_2010a01_br_be51br1002.pdf
Stempel, C. (2005). Adult participation sports as cultural capital. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 40(4), 411–432.
Taylor, A., & Krahn, H. (2013). Living through our children: Exploring the education and career "choices" of racialized immigrant youth in Canada. Journal of Youth Studies, 16(8), 1000–1021.
Westin, C. (Ed.). (2015). The Integration of Descendants of Migrants from Turkey in Stockholm: The TIES Study in Sweden. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
van Ours, J. C., & Veenman, J. (2003). The educational attainment of second-generation immigrants in the Netherlands. Journal of Population Economics, 16(4), 739–753.
Zhou, M., & Kim, S. (2006). Community forces, social capital, and educational achievement: The case of supplementary education in the Chinese and Korean immigrant communities. Harvard Educational Review, 76(1), 1–29.
Copyright (c) 2019 Pinar Aslan
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).