500 Families: Migration Histories of Turks in Europe

Social, economic and cultural integration of first generation immigrants and their children has been the focus of extensive research in Europe and elsewhere. However, much remains unknown about the multi-generational transmission of social, cultural, religious and economic resources, and behaviours. Furthermore, while transnational studies on intra- and international migration processes are well-established in the US, they are scarce in Europe. Finally, immigrants are mainly compared to other immigrants and/or natives, whereas studies comparing immigrants to those left behind or those who have re-emigrated to the origin country are an exception. This project will treat these research lacunae and will extend existing research on international migration processes and intergenerational mobility by implementing a unique research design based on 500 Turkish families, their immigrant descendants in Europe and those who remained in Turkey. It reconstructs basic migration, family and socio-economic histories of complete lineages generated by a sample of 500 ancestors, born in Turkey between 1930 and 1940 in selected high migration sending areas; and to personally interviewing approximately 6000 family members over up to four generations in Turkey and Europe, investigating patterns of intergenerational transmission of resources and values and their intersection with family migration trajectories. This project answers the following questions:

  • What are the processes of migration and how do they impact on emigrants, and the receiving and sending societies? How do these processes develop across generations?
  • To what extent have various generations of Turkish migrants and their offspring married persons of Turkish descent, and how is their mate selection related to migration behaviour and social and cultural characteristics?
  • How has socio-economic achievement of Turks in Western Europe developed relative to Turkish non-migrants from the same and similar families? How does achievement vary across and within families, migration generations and destination societies?
  • What are the determinants and consequences of social networks and intermarriage, to what extent do they vary across generations, and what are the implications of parents’ social networks for the outcomes of next generation?
  • To what extent do emigrant parents transfer their cultural and religious values and behaviour to their offspring? How does that vary between emigrants and non-emigrants?
  • To what extend has religiosity among Turks in Europe responded to the secular outlook of the host societies across generations?

Principal Investigator
Dr.Ayse Guveli, University of Essex

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