Migration and minorities

Inequalities among young in time of uncertainty

June 29, 2021 15:00
June 29, 2021 16:30

Eduardo Guichard¹⁻², Milena Chimienti¹⁻², Jean-Marie Le Goff¹⁻³, Claudio Bolzman¹⁻²

¹LIVES Swiss centre of expertise in life course research; ²University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, HES-SO, HETS Geneva; ³University of Lausanne


Andrés Gomensoro¹, Chantal Kamm¹, Sandra Hupka-Brunner¹, Marieke Heers²

¹University of Bern; ²FORS, University of Lausanne

Jean-Marie Le Goff¹⁻³, Claudio Bolzman¹⁻², Milena Chimienti¹⁻², Nora Dasoki²⁻⁴, Eduardo Guichard¹⁻²

¹LIVES Swiss centre of expertise in life course research; ²University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, HES-SO, HETS Geneva; ³University of Lausanne; ⁴Swiss centre of expertise in the social sciences, FORS

David Glauser, University of Bern, Institute of Educational Science, Department of Sociology of Education

Emily Murphy¹ and Matteo Antonini²

¹Institute for Research on Socioeconomic Inequality (IRSEI), University of Luxembourg; SKOPE, University of Oxford, UK; ²La Source School of Nursing, HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Switzerland.

The objective of this session is to discuss how did young people with a migratory background live and react in context of uncertainty comparing their situation with those without a migratory background in different European countries. Speakers will be invited to consider the inequalities and vulnerabilities which are specific to the individuals belonging to the so-called second generation youth and to compare their processes of accumulation of advantages with those of young adults of native-Swiss origin. 

Our general hypothesis is that the migratory background is a ‘starting point’ from which the life courses of youth diverge. The session will discuss the following question: How did young people live and react to context of uncertainty? What are the differences among young in their transition to adulthood comparing the case of those with and without a migratory background? What are their similarities? 

This session presents empirical comparative studies on young adults with and without a migratory background. We are especially interested in studies reflecting on the pandemic context and its effects on the life-course of young adults. 

Parental investment in children’s educational success against the odds: A comparison between native and migrant families in Switzerland 

Andrés Gomensoro¹, Chantal Kamm¹, Sandra Hupka-Brunner¹, Marieke Heers²
¹University of Bern;  2FORS, University of Lausanne

Education is a key resource for the social and economic integration of the children of migrants. However, the access to diplomas is subject to multiple familial, social and institutional processes of (re)production of inequalities. In Switzerland, as in most of the OECD countries (OECD, 2012), second-generation students are generally less successful at the different bifurcation points of the educational system (Tjaden & Scharenberg, 2017). Particularly vulnerable second-generation groups with modest social background and limited resources – in Switzerland for instance Turkey and former Yugoslavia – are more often streamed into basic requirement lower-secondary tracks, experience delayed transitions into the upper-secondary level (Sacchi & Meyer, 2016), face discrimination in the apprenticeship market (Hupka-Brunner & Kriesi, 2013; Imdorf, 2010) and participate less in tertiary education (Murdoch et al., 2016). Orientation can thus be seen as an uncertain and risky process.

Another strand of research focuses on children of migrants who ‘succeed against the odds’, implying that when accounting for accumulated disadvantages and limited resources (low SES and parental education background) some second-generation individuals attain higher levels of education compared to their native counterparts. This phenomenon is referred to as the ‘immigrant paradox’ (Feliciano & Lanuza, 2017). Parents’ and young adults' educational aspirations (Fuligini, 1997) as well as parental investment in their children’s education (Altschul, 2011; Liu & White, 2017) are suggested as potential explanations for this observed paradox.

To extend our understanding on second-generation success against the odds, we investigate the role played by the parents, i.e. how parental educational aspirations and investment contribute to “unexpected” – or seemingly paradoxical – successful pathways for vulnerable second-generation groups in Switzerland. Theoretically, we consider the generic and specific patterns of young adults’ and parents’ aspirations (goals), available/mobilizable resources (means to act) and strategies (actions/agency) (Heckhausen & Buchman, 2018). We do so by taking a comparative perspective between migrant-origin and native families. Educational success is measured both objectively (by observable and measurable educational indicators) and subjectively (individual perception of success; Neuenschwander & Nägele, 2014). 

To evaluate this, we rely on the qualitative in-depth study “Parental investment in Children’s education” of the second cohort of TREE (Transitions from Education to Employment; ). In spring 2020 (four years after the end of compulsory schooling, average age 20), we interviewed 72 young adults of Swiss, Southern European or Extra-European origin with comparably modest social backgrounds and 50 of their parents. In spring 2021, we will interview the parents again. 

The preliminary results reveal a diversity of individual definitions of educational success: Swiss parents and young adults tend to focus on occupational (job satisfaction, further education) and individual (education-skills fit) aspects, while second-generation youth and parents tend to have a performance- or output-oriented understanding of success. Moreover, the data reveal various types of parental investment strategies that differ widely between Swiss and migrant parents. Additional analyses explore the unprecedented and uncertain situation for families during the first lockdown due to COVID19 (when schools were closed in spring 2020) and possible adaptions of parental investment and consequences one year later (in spring 2021).

Keywords: Second generation, integration, educational success, accumulated disadvantages 

Transition from school to the labor market in Switzerland. A comparative study between children of immigrants and natives.

Jean-Marie Le Goff ⁽¹⁾⁽³⁾, Claudio Bolzman ⁽¹⁾⁽²⁾, Milena Chimienti ⁽¹⁾⁽²⁾, Nora Dasoki ⁽²⁾⁽⁴⁾, Eduardo Guichard ⁽¹⁾⁽²⁾
⁽¹⁾LIVES Swiss centre of expertise in life course research; ⁽²⁾University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, HES-SO, HETS Geneva; ⁽³⁾University of Lausanne; ⁽⁴⁾Swiss centre of expertise in the social sciences, FORS

The aim of the communication is to develop a comparison of the transition from school to the labor market between children of migrants and natives in Switzerland. We are especially interested to investigate mechanisms that lead children of migrants to have different positions than natives on the labor market. Three mechanisms about the relation between the initial status of children of migrant to their socio-economic status reached on the labor market can be proposed (Di Prete and Ehrich, 2006; Pudrovska & Anikputa, 2014). A first mechanism is to consider that the economic status is only related to the migratory background, whatever the type and the degree of education which is attained. A second mechanism is a mechanism of path dependency, in which an initial disadvantage related to the migratory background leads young adults to reach a lower level of education than natives. This disadvantage in education increases the risk to reach a lower position on the labor market. The third one corresponds to a mechanism of cumulative effects, in which the migratory background remains influential at each step of the life course and adds to the disadvantages or advantages cumulated during education trajectory. These different hypotheses of path dependency and cumulative effect will be tested on the LIVES cohort study (Spini et al, 2013), a panel survey launched in 2013 in which are interviewed each year a sample of children of migrants together with a sample of Swiss natives born between 1987 and 1997.

Keywords: Second generation, transition, migratory background, path dependency, cumulative effect, Switzerland 

Gendered immigrant optimism: ethnic choice effects at the transition to upper secondary education in Switzerland

David Glauser, University of Bern, Institute of Educational Science, Department of Sociology of Education.

Educational attainment is decisive for social integration in terms of income prospects, health condition, and access to welfare services over the life course (Kalter et al., 2018). Educational inequalities relating to social or migration background therefore have a long-lasting negative impact on social integration. In the case of educational disparities attributable to migration background, findings point to two conflicting conditions (Hernandez and Garcia, 2018). Ethnic disadvantages or penalties, respectively, are observed for specific migrant groups in many countries and at different educational levels (Roezer and Werfhorst, 2017), while partly for the otherwise low-privileged ethnic groups, educational advantages -- ethnic premia -- are reported as well (Dollmann 2017).

In this presentation, the scope is on aspirations of upward social mobility among children of immigrant origin that often translate into ethnic premia in terms of a higher likelihood of attaining more school orientated tracks at upper secondary level (baccalaureate schools vs. vocational education and training, VET) compared to their native-origin peers when controlling for academic performance. Based on data from German-speaking Switzerland on two school-leaver cohorts, one born in 1985 (TREE) and the other in 1998 (DAB panel study), we focus on students whose parents were born in the Balkans, Turkey or Portugal.

We operationalise immigrant optimism as difference between the highest socioeconomic status of the parents and the desired occupation of the child at the age 30. In so doing, the motivation for social advancement is captured as relative distance between ambition and social class (Keller and Zavalloni, 1964). In addition to test whether the motivation for upward social mobility differs between youths with the afore mentioned migration background and those of the majority population, we use this aspiration measure to disentangle direct and indirect effects of migration background on educational attainment at upper secondary level applying the reformulated KHB method (Breen et al., 2018). Since patterns of educational transitions in Switzerland vary systematically by gender (Fleischmann et al., 2014), we conduct our analyses separately for young women and men. This enables us to test whether the observed ethnic choice effects are gender-specific.

Overall, we observe the highest aspirations of social advancement among youths of the ethnic groups of interest belonging to the lower tail of the social strata. However, our results reveal the importance of stratifying analyses by gender, since we only observe ethnic premia in the case of men in both cohorts. In addition, the cohort comparison reveals that the effects of aspirations are underestimated when aspirations are measured close to the time of educational transitions.

Keywords: Integration, educational success, migrants, second generation 

Money and maturation among young people following NEET trajectories in England

Emily Murphy¹ and Matteo Antonini²

¹Institute for Research on Socioeconomic Inequality (IRSEI), University of Luxembourg; SKOPE, University of Oxford, UK; ²La Source School of Nursing, HES-SO University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, Switzerland.

Since the early 2000s and following on from the Great Recession, the timing of transitions into stable employment and risks of suffering episodes of not being in any form of education, employment or training (NEET) is affecting a diverse group of young people into their late ‘20s. In England, there have been a number of “learning to earning policy failures [3]” and given an ongoing precarity of life conditions, the financial strain that young people are under can be acute. In the current paper we address the question of whether NEET trajectories and the timing of this precarity may be critical to how youth perceive their transition into ‘adulthood’. Our longitudinal study contributes to recent sociological literature which seeks to understand how disruptive episodes in the early stage of the life course and the potentially concomitant negative financial aspects for young people impact on their perceptions of becoming an ‘adult’ [4]. Utilising sequence analysis methods we trace N/EET trajectories [2], drawing on a representative cohort of young people from Next Steps data [UCL] in Eng- land. Our findings produce a detailed descriptive picture of how NEET experiences earlier on, between the ages of 16 and 20, produce feelings of precarity and financial insecurity years later, at age 25. Results show NEET trajectories to be associated with lowered perceptions of having transitioned into adulthood through a somewhat paradoxical situation of young people having financial obligations to meet, but ones (debt repayments) which they are unable to consistently meet.

Keywords: Emerging adulthood, financial security, NEETs, sequence analysis