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Ethnic retention and host culture adoption among Turkish immigrants in Germany, France and the Netherlands: A controlled comparison


  • Ersanilli, Evelyn
  • Koopmans, Ruud


The paper explores the determinants of, and the relationship between ethnic culture retention and host society culture adoption among Turkish immigrants in Germany, France, and the Netherlands, using original survey data. To maximize cross-national comparability, we focus on immigrants from two Turkish regions who themselves or whose parents migrated before 1975. As indicators of ethnic retention we investigate Turkish and Muslim identification, Turkish language proficiency and observance of Islamic religious practices. Host culture adoption is measured by host country identification, host country language proficiency and use, and interethnic social contacts. We formulate hypotheses regarding crossnational differences based on how integration policy approaches affect the material benefits and emotional costs of retention and adoption. We find that ethnic retention is strongest in the Netherlands, where multicultural policies were long prevalent, while host culture adoption is strongest in the French context, which has more strongly emphasised assimilation, at least where participation in the public realm is concerned. We further show that on the individual level, there is a negative relationship between ethnic retention and host culture adoption, which persists after controlling for relevant background variables.

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  • Ersanilli, Evelyn & Koopmans, Ruud, 2009. "Ethnic retention and host culture adoption among Turkish immigrants in Germany, France and the Netherlands: A controlled comparison," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Migration, Integration, Transnationalization SP IV 2009-701, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbmit:spiv2009701

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    1. Chiswick, Barry R & Miller, Paul W, 1995. "The Endogeneity between Language and Earnings: International Analyses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(2), pages 246-288, April.
    2. Maykel Werkuyten & Shervin Nekuee, 1999. "Subjective Well-Being, Discrimination and Cultural Conflict: Iranians Living in The Netherlands," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 281-306, July.
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