9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS09 Research Methods in Ethnic and Migration Studies

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 Generational Perspectives Building I, 2E5

Inheriting the Immigrant Condition - Immigrant Families' Strategies of Social Reproduction in Murcia (Spain)

The Mediterranean region of Murcia is, together with Madrid and Barcelona, one of the main poles of attraction of foreign immigrants to Spain. But in contrast to these two Spanish metropolitan centers, Murcia is not an urban pole with predominant industrial and services activities, but a territory where the agriculture represents one of the region's economic driving forces.

In previous research we coined the concept of Immigrant Condition to define the effects that the combination of several structural logics of domination (based on class division, legal status hierarchy, and ethno-cultural discrimination) has on immigrants coming from the peripheral areas of the Capitalist World-Economy. These logics reinforce and overdetermine each other, constructing immigrants as an stigmatized population excluded from citizenship status. E.g., since all the agriculture day labourers in Murcia are immigrants, most nationals think that immigrants (especially Moroccan) are only able to work as day labourers.

The questions we are now considering are: will the children of these immigrants inherit the Immigrant Condition? What strategies will their families develop for avoiding this to happen? For answering to these questions, we have conducted an empirical research taking as units of analysis each reunified family. 40 in-depth qualitative interviews were made, 32 of them to members of the two family generations (twelve to immigrant parents, twenty to children), and another 8 to teachers or educators, in order to explore subjects as: the parents' migratory projects and expectations, up to which point the children were matching these expectations, and their school performances. In every family parents and children were interviewed separately, and when possibly, each one of the parents individually.

Sociology of Migrations has fragmented artificially too many times immigrant families, taking parents by one side and children (the so called "Second Generation") by the other, as different objects of study. This research aims to show that such fragmentation supposes an epistemological mistake, because the families' conditions of existence constitute the children's conditions of primary socialization. Therefore, the latter's identities and social trajectories can't be properly understood without taking into account the former's projects and strategies.