Immigration, Stress, and Readjustment

By Zeev Ben-Sira | Go to book overview

1
Immigration--A Desirable Yet Disillusioning Social Change

Immigration is a life-change generally made in order to improve the immigrants' overall well-being. And yet, there is a paradox: In the short term, at least, immigration may have profound stress-precipitating consequences ( Palinkas 1982). Similarly, though absorbing societies often welcome immigration and the cultural heterogeneity it entails ( DeVos 1980; Eisenstadt 1980), they may subsequently discourage immigration. There are many examples of countries or communities that initially welcomed, or even encouraged, immigration but later faced intergroup tension and hostilities and blamed the changing composition of the population for the deteriorating quality of their lives (see Brownstein and Simon 1993).

To begin to understand this apparent paradox, we must realize that immigration transforms the cultural, social, and economic systems of both immigrants and the absorbing society in ways that often differ from their expectations ( Tienda and Booth 1991:51). In this chapter, I summarize the literature on the implications of immigration for immigrants and for the absorbing society.


IMMIGRATION AND ACCULTURATION

Immigration necessitates "acculturation," that is, cultural exchange resulting from continuous, first-hand contact between two distinct groups (see Redfield et al. 1936). Berry ( 1991) contends that acculturation is not only a group-level but also an individual-level phenomenon, which he calls "psychological acculturation." At this level, acculturation refers to changes of overt behavior and covert traits in an individual whose group is collectively experiencing cultural change.

One can study acculturation among both immigrants (whom Berry calls the "non-dominant" group) and the absorbing society (the "dominant" group).

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Immigration, Stress, and Readjustment
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword - The Academic Work of Zeev Ben-Sira vii
  • Introduction - Immigration-- A Stress-Precipitating Change xi
  • Notes xviii
  • 1 - Immigration--A Desirable Yet Disillusioning Social Change 1
  • 2 - Reasons for Migration and the Absorbing Society's Perspectives 7
  • CONCLUSION: THE EFFECT OF THE INTERPRETATION OF SOCIETAL PERSPECTIVES ON READJUSTMENT 28
  • Notes 28
  • 3 Immigration and Stress: A General Overview 31
  • Conclusion 43
  • Notes 44
  • 4 - Immigration and Readjustment 45
  • SUMMARY 54
  • 5 - Integration 55
  • 6 - Demands, Stressors, and Catalysts 75
  • Note 95
  • 7 - Coping and Resources 97
  • CONCLUSION: THE EFFECT OF IMMIGRATION ON RESOURCES AND POTENCY 119
  • 8 - An Empirical Model of Readjustment 121
  • APPENDICES 137
  • Bibliography 159
  • Index 173
  • About the Author 179
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