9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS02 Dynamics and Complexity of Minority Statuses in Plural Societies

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 Immigration and Minority Statuses Building II, C3.02

Immigrant associations: between participation and institutionalization

Recently, with the consolidation of Spain as migration destination, it came up new dimensions and possibilities of actors able to address issues related to the integration of immigrants in societies of destination. There are approaches in which social networks of migrants are presented as a new subject of study that transcends particularities and structural explanations on causes, perpetuation and settlement migration.

One of the obvious forms of crystallization of transnational social networks is the formation of immigrant associations that shares geographic area, country or location; they join together on various issues, responding to issues as legal and political or to social, cultural or identity. Thus, membership of associations depends, not only on the direct benefits they can bring to their members, but that also on a sense of belonging based on identity criteria. For this reason, it is not surprising that some of these associations focus on spaces of interchange and cultural developments, more than attention to integration offered by other civil society organizations.

As happens with many other self-participatory processes, authorities have realized on potential of partnerships as ways of integrating immigrants, trying to act as catalysts. With government regulations and participation of immigrant associations in spaces created and regulated by various political actors, institutionalization circle of migrant participation in collective practices is closed. While this can be an institutional incentive or impetus to associative processes, it is possible that associations get accommodated and partly reduce or lose its capacity. This situation could be seen as a no legitimization or lack of recognition from immigrants groups of who claim to be represented.