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The economics of attachment: Making a case for a relational approach to immigrants' integration in Canada

TitleThe economics of attachment: Making a case for a relational approach to immigrants' integration in Canada
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsKazemipur, A., and Nakhaie R.
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
Volume15
Pages609 - 632
Keywordsattachment, canada, economic experiences, immigration, relational, sense of belonging
Abstract

This study examines the influence of immigrants' economic experiences on the degree of their attachment to Canada, against the background of two prevalent explanations of immigrant integration into host societies: the 'assimilation' and 'structural-historical' approaches-both of which treat integration as rigid, linear and inevitable. The findings of our study suggest that integration is a dynamic process, the content and outcome of which is determined by the nature of the interaction between immigrants and the host society. When such interactions are pleasant and consistent with immigrants' expectations, the final outcome is a strong sense of attachment to the host society. Also, with changes in the former, there will be changes in the latter. In this study, we use the data from the Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada to examine the validity of a relational perspective of immigrant integration, by measuring the impact of immigrants' economic experiences on the strength of their attachment to Canada. Adopting such a perspective particularly questions the validity of a 'prescriptive assimilationist' approach, which asks immigrants to start their lives in the new countries with an intention to assimilate. Viewing the integration process from the relational perspective implies that assimilation could not be suggested as an intentional goal; rather, it should be seen as a possible by-product of the nature of immigrants' experiences, materialized only when such experiences are pleasant and consistent with immigrants' expectations. Built on this alternative view, we then discuss the theoretical and policy implications of the study.

URLhttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2fs12134-013-0284-6
Document URLhttp://download-v2.springer.com/static/pdf/937/art%253a10.1007%252fs12134-013-0284-6.pdf?token2=exp=1429134984 acl=%2fstatic%2fpdf%2f937%2fart%25253a10.1007%25252fs12134-013-0284-6.pdf* hmac=79264e633a9ca6f9012e90f110e575b8d344ab5e86422091fa4a604131ca33b5