9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN04 Sociology of Children and Childhood

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Migrant Children and Integration Building II, C6.02

Portuguese migrants in Germany: how deceiving can be integration?

This paper presents partial results from an on-going project focused on Portuguese migrants in Germany, which aims at observing the impact migratory process has on children?s lives, how do they (re)construct identity, understand and respond to diversity and change, and what role do they play in family integration in the host society and in maintaining links with their home country, language and culture. Portuguese are Europeans, mainly Christians, apparently do not disturb public order and are considered ?good migrants?. Yet, ?mother? tongue is quickly forgotten and school achievement is low, or, if successful, they tend to quit identifying themselves as Portuguese. Are these stereotypes or do they correspond to statistics? Combining anthropological theoretic and methodological approaches with the interdisciplinary Childhood Studies this paper calls attention to the need of long term empirical research and proximity with communities and their children, procedures which are largely limited by present data protection rules. Quantitative information provided by governmental surveys is not enough to picture reality, especially not the one of children belonging to less visible groups, either because they are in small number when compared to others, do not belong to 'mainstream' research or do not have their particular situation clearly considered by public policies.