Iranians in Sweden : economic, cultural and social integration
Sammanfattning: This study explores three dimensions in the integration of Iranian immigrants in Sweden: economic, cultural and social. To test the generalisability of the ideas presented, and to place them in a wider framework the integration of Iranians has been compared with those of three other minorities: Chileans, Poles, and Finns. Data used in the statistical analyses have been obtained from the Centre for Research in International Migration and Ethnic relations (CEIFO).Economic integration of an immigrant group in a new society has been defined as its economic equality with the host population. The first part dealing with this aspect of integration compares Iranians with Swedes by three economic indicators: the ratio of unemployment, socio-economic status and income. By all indicators Iranians hold a considerably lower position as compared with Swedes. Both socio-demographic factors related to the Iranians and discrimination exercised by Swedish employers have been found to be relevant to the economic integration of Iranians in Sweden.The comparison of Iranians with the three other minorities, in terms of discrimination, indicates that the discrimination of these minorities corresponds to their cultural distance from Swedes. Iranians, with the remotest culture from Swedes among the four minorities, suffer the highest degree of discrimination. Finns, with the closest culture, suffer the lowest degree of discrimination. And the two other minorities lie between these two groups, respectively. Discrimination manifests itself mainly in a differential size of incomes which derives from the differential distribution of these groups among the least desirable occupations.The second part dealing with cultural integration evaluates the adaptation of Iranian to Swedish culture by two indicators representing cognitive and normative acculturation. This part is especially focused on the proposition that the westernisation process in Iran and differential reactions against this process are relevant in the acculturation of Iranians in Sweden. Two hypotheses formulated on the basis of this proposition- the negative effects of commitment to Iranian culture and radicalism on the acculturation of Iranians in Sweden- have been supported by the indicator of normative acculturation, but not by that of cognitive acculturation.The comparison of the four minorities has demonstrated that generalities, clustering and uniqueness all exist among the factors explaining their acculturation. The generalities and clustering are more striking in cognitive acculturation. Similarities are more evident between Iranians and Chileans.Finally, the last part dealing with social integration concentrates on the association of Iranians with Swedes. Assuming that association of two individuals with each other requires a common language and a minimum degree of intersubjectivity, it has been generally hypothesised that: 1) social integration of minorities in the new society will be a function of their cultural distance from the host population, and 2) all processes contributing to the increasing or decreasing of cultural distance will contribute also to the increasing or decreasing of their social integration.On the basis of these general hypotheses the following concrete hypotheses have been tested. 1) Among the four minorities, Iranians, as culturally remotest from Swedes, will have the least degree of social integration, followed by Chileans, Poles and Finns, respectively. 2) Commitment of Iranians to Iranian culture, as a medium increasing cultural distance, will correlate negatively with their social integration in Sweden. 3) Countercultural elements in Swedish society, as a medium of cultural-distance reduction, will contribute to the social integration of immigrants in this society. All hypotheses have been supported by the existing data.
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