When networks tell just half the story: Social networks, language and social identity among Russian German and Russian Jewish migrants in Germany
Topics: Main Topic: Demography and Migration, Russian-Speaking Jews, Integration, Immigration, Interviews, Networks, Language
Abstract: The theoretical framework of social network analysis predicts that a stronger co-ethnic network in migrant settings will support language maintenance, while a looser inter-ethnic network will weaken it. This assumption was tested by analyzing 78 interviews with Russian Jewish and Russian German migrants. Surprisingly, despite tighter co-ethnic networks, the Russian German sample displayed clearer signs of language shift, including a relaxed attitude towards L1 loss among children. At the same time, despite more diverse networks and stronger orientation to acquiring L2, the Russian Jewish group demonstrated a higher emphasis on L1 maintenance, also for younger migrants. These findings suggest the existence of additional factors overriding the effects of the social network structure, mainly the need to negotiate a post-migrant identity both within the host society and within the Russian-speaking migrant population. By accepting German as an in-group code and promoting it among younger community members, Russian Germans reclaimed their historically German identity. The Russian Jewish community favored additive bilingualism with full maintenance of L1 as a way to establish distinctiveness from the Russian German group. These findings suggest that the effects of the social network were intertwined with ongoing identity negotiations and distinct ideologies affecting communities’ linguistic choices.
Topics: Main Topic: Demography and Migration, Russian-Speaking Jews, Integration, Immigration, Age and Generational Issues
Abstract: Since the early fifties of the last century Germany admitted ethnic Germans (Aussiedler) and at a later point in time Jewish refugees (jüdische Kontingentflüchtlinge) from the Soviet Union and its successor states. While identity formation of ethnic German and Jewish immigrants is based on shared history and cultural characteristics, education and social experiences in post-Soviet states are of high relevance as well. Furthermore, legal and administrative classifications in Germany define the boundaries of belonging to these immigrant groups. Although ethnic Germans and Jewish immigrants differ significantly with respect to their social background and education, both groups experience obstacles concerning their economic and social integration in Germany. However, a considerable part of second generation ethnic German and Jewish immigrants seem to cope quite well with the German educational system and increasingly take advantage of career opportunities.
Generation 1.5 of Russian-speaking immigrants in Israel and in Germany: An overview of recent research and a German pilot study
Topics: Main Topic: Demography and Migration, Aliyah, Russian-Speaking Jews, Integration, Immigration, Age and Generational Issues, Discrimination, Interviews
Abstract: This chapter oﬀers a comparative overview of immigrant trajectories and inte-gration outcomes of Russian-Jewish youths (the so-called 1.5 generation) who immigrated to Israel and Germany with their families over the last 25 years. At the outset, I compare Israeli and German reception contexts and policies and present the generic features of the 1.5 immigrant generation. Next I overview the Israeli research ﬁndings on Russian Israeli 1.5ers – their schooling, social mobility, cultural and linguistic practices, parents’ role in their integration, and juxtapose them with (still limited) German data. e ﬁnal section presents two recent German studies of young Russian-Jewish adults and the initial ﬁndings from my own study among these immigrants living in four German cities. My interviews with 20 men and women, mostly successful professionals or entrepreneurs, indicate that their upward social mobility was facilitated by the continuous welfare support of their families, school integration programs, and low ﬁnancial barriers to higher education. Despite common occupation-al and social downgrading of the parental generation in both countries, the 1.5-ers in Israel had to struggle harder to overcome their inherent immigrant disadvantage vs. native peers to access good schools and professional careers. Most young immigrants deem full assimilation in the host country’s main-stream unattainable and opt instead for a bilingual and/or bicultural strategy of integration