Understandings of integration amongst highly educated Indian women migrants living in the UK

Simic, Agnes (2018) Understandings of integration amongst highly educated Indian women migrants living in the UK. PhD thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

The concept of integration is a ‘controversial and hotly debated’ one (Castles et al. 2001: 12) with blurred boundaries and content. Policy documents and scholarly literature on integration are mainly concerned with social policy aspects of integration, ways integration may be achieved, barriers to integration, and identifying good practices. However, research rarely examines integration as understood by migrants themselves (cf. EAVES 2015). Yet, capturing migrants’ voices is essential to obtain a balanced comprehension (Erdal 2013), especially as integration is frequently conceptualised as a ‘two-way process’ between migrants and host country / society. Numerous recent studies have explored understandings of integration of migrants as a wider group (cf. Cherti and McNeil 2012; Wessendorf 2011). However, adequate attention has not been given to the same with respect to migrant women (e.g. EAVES 2015), and more specifically highly educated migrant women (from more privileged backgrounds). Studying their approaches to integration is highly relevant, the more so as the highly educated are increasingly present amongst migrants, and women (in general) form the majority of the UK’s migrant population (Rienzo and Vargas-Silva 2017). Furthermore, with the main focus of government rhetoric on specific, problematised groups of migrants chiefly defined through their religion and ethnic affiliations, lower skill levels, and gender, non-problematised, highly educated migrant women remain barely visible. This research draws on empirical data gained through 30 open-ended semi-structured interviews conducted in early 2013 with highly educated Indian migrant women of higher social classes who live in the UK. A distinct set of understandings of integration emerged that can be equated with emotional responses and feelings in relation to life in the host country. Other, more concrete integration conceptions were also described, aligned along power lines and agency vectors of the two major players in the integration process, i.e. migrants and host country/society, and viewed, in particular, in relation to the idea that integration is a ‘two-way process’. Finally, the formative role of certain pre-migration factors (including class position), that have possibly informed understandings of integration, was highlighted.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Social Policy Research Centre
B. > Theses
Item ID: 23547
Depositing User: Vimal Shah
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 10:43
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 10:43
URI: http://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23547

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