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Abstracts of dissertations

The Role of Social Networks In Immigrants' Social Integration: The Construction of a Social Integration Index through the National Immigration Survey
 
Author
Campdepadros, Roger
rogerceaceu@gmail.com
Spain

Supervisor
Felix Requena Santos
Department of State Law and Sociology
University of Malaga
Spain

Year of completion 2012

language of dissertation Spanish

Keywords
  • social networks
  • social integration
  • international migration
  • path analysis
Areas of Research
  • Migration
  • Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations
  • Stratification
Abstract
This thesis is about the role that immigrants’ social networks and immigrants’ social capital play in their social integration in the host country of Spain. One of the main questions that this thesis investigates is whether immigrants’ social networks prevent or promote their social integration. By means of their social networks, immigrants are able to mobilize resources that are embedded in their social relations and, consequently, reach certain goals, including social integration. To perform the analysis, I first constructed an objective index of social integration. Then, by means of a multivariate analysis, I measured the impact that several variables composing social networks and social capital have on this social integration index, controlling them with some important individual and contextual variables, while also taking into account the indirect effects of a number of independent variables on the others. The thesis addresses the main debates in the sociology of migration. Specifically, this study considers the extent to which assimilation and acculturation provides social integration, as well as what role different kind of ties –strong, weak and linking ties - play. Lastly, I compare how social capital, social networks, and different kind of ties behave with respect to immigrants’ origin. I find that groups with certain places of origins tend to rely more on weak ties in order to attain social integration while groups with other places of origin rely more on strong ties. This kind of analysis had been extensively performed in sociology of migration, but few empirical studies have been conducted in Spain. Moreover, the study illustrates that immigrant groups from the national backgrounds that experience the most discrimination, are the very groups that are pushed to rely on their communities’ social networks in order to gain a certain amount of upward mobility. This upward mobility is limited, however, because of the the resources that these excluded communities have access to, are scarce.