Pioneers of European Integration

Pioneers of European Integration

Citizenship and Mobility in the EU

Edited by Ettore Recchi and Adrian Favell

The free movement of EU citizens is the most visible sociological consequence of the remarkable process of European integration that has transformed the continent since the Second World War. Pioneers of European Integration offers the first systematic analysis of the small but symbolically potent number of Europeans who have chosen to live and work as foreigners in another member state of the EU. Based on an original survey of 5000 people moving to and from the EU’s five largest countries, the book documents the demographic profile, migration choices, cultural adaptation, social mobility, political participation and media use of these pioneers of a transnational Europe, as well as opening a window to the new waves of intra-EU East–West migrations.

Chapter 5: Living Across Cultures in a Transnational Europe

Antonio Alaminos and Oscar Santacreu

Subjects: development studies, migration, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, migration


Antonio Alaminos and Oscar Santacreu ACCULTURATION OR INTEGRATION? THEORETICAL PREMISES As other chapters have documented, resettling to another country entails various degrees of mobility, both in terms of time and previous movements. Some migrants decide to remain indefinitely in the destination country, while others keep alive the wish to return to their country of origin as soon as possible. Some have had significant mobility experiences before, with long stays in several countries. For others, migration is in fact a new and one-shot experience. Whatever, the case, for all migrants, moving internationally is a cumulative and dynamic life choice that can lead to great changes in the individuals and (cumulatively) in the societies where they choose to settle. These questions can best be approached with reference to the well-developed literature in immigration studies on ‘acculturation’ or ‘integration’. Before tackling the data revealed by EIMSS as regards this issue, however, we need first to clarify the key concepts used in this chapter. Acculturation According to a classic definition: acculturation comprehends those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups. Under this definition, acculturation is to be distinguished from culture change, of which it is but one aspect, and assimilation, which is at times a phase of acculturation. (Linton et al. 1936, 145–6) In an updated version of this perspective, the most well-known contemporary theorist of acculturation, John W. Berry (1997), outlines...

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