Growing up with eagle-eyed neighbors. A study on how tight social networks influence norms and values of Turkish Belgians of the second and third generation
Van Kerckem, Klaartje
Sociology Ghent University Gent, Belgium
Adolescents in migrant families often grow up in an environment with paradoxical demands. In the case of Belgian Turks, adolescents are socialized in two quite different socialization systems. On the one hand, the Turkish community expects them to conform to collectivistic norms and values; the larger society on the other hand, demands 'integration', which basically means they have to adapt to individualistic norms and values. The proposed study is part of an ongoing research effort to shed light on the way in which second and third generation Belgian Turks negotiate these possibly paradoxical demands and on how living in these two worlds is reflected in norms and values. The here proposed study focuses on how the composition and characteristics of the social network of adolescents plays a role in the process of transmission of values. We hereby try to find out how (1) social control within the community and (2) both 'bonding' and 'bridging' capital influence both the process of transmission of values, and what norms and values are finally internalized. We focus on social control and social capital, because - based on the social capital theory and field experience - we expect tight social networks to be a source of rigidity, because the tight structure of the network enables parents to control what their children do. Considering the fact that the Turkish community strongly emphasizes a Turkish modus vivendi, we expect adolescents that grow up in a tight community to come less into contact with native Belgians and hence individualistic norms and values.
This qualitative research project can theoretically be situated on the intersection of sociology and social psychology; methodologically we position ourselves on the intersection of anthropology and sociology. The research can be characterized by a strong emphasis on epistemology and multi-method research. Preliminary insights are gathered during participant observation and informal interviews with key informants. Based on these insights, we obtained a purposive sample of 30 respondents who were interviewed alone or together with a sibling. Preliminary insights show that intercultural contact (bridging social capital) is essential for a balanced value-system. Further results will be discussed.