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Diaspora 12:1 2003 The 1.5 Generation of Russian Immigrants in Israel: Between Integration and Sociocultural Retention Larissa Remennick Bar-Ilan University Introduction Consecutive immigrant generations and the process of their incorporation into host societies are emerging as a new focus of interest in the contemporary sociology of migration (Portes and Zhou; Portes and Schauffler; Portes and Rumbaut; Rumbaut and Portes). The bulk of the evidence from different countries and on various types of migration (ethnic return migration, labor migration , asylum seeking) shows a significant tendency to ethnic and cultural retention in the first generation of adult migrants (Alba and Nee; Rumbaut, “Assimilation”; Rumbaut and Portes). When these migrants assimilate at all, the process is usually partial and segmented, that is, the adjustment in some life realms (in the workplace , in educational and other public institutions) is more effective and expedient than in other, more private ones (family life, personal relationships, consumption patterns). In response to these observations , the concept of integration (instrumental adaptation to the host society while retaining the minority’s own ethnocultural core) emerged in modern migration discourse to replace the traditional assimilation perspective in research on first-generation migrants (Nauck; Remennick, “What Does”). Recent research among newly formed ethnic minorities in Europe and North America has shown that the pace of their integration is largely determined by the social capital they are endowed with, most importantly education, professional experience, and proficiency in the host language (Grillo; Nauck; Portes and Rumbaut). These personal resources allow recent migrants to develop biculturalbilingual identity and lifestyle over time, combining features of their home and host cultures (Berry; Portes and Schauffler; Nauck). The pace of integration is also determined by the attitudes and policies toward immigrants adopted by the host society; these can result in consensus, tension, or conflict. In response to exclusion and discrimination, immigrant communities may develop the reactive ethnicity syndrome, refusing to integrate even at the cost of marginalization and lost opportunities for upward social mobility (Portes and Rumbaut). 39 Diaspora 12:1 2003 It was commonly expected by migration theorists of the past (see Rumbaut, “Assimilation”; Neuwirth; Portes and Rumbaut) that integration should and probably would accelerate in the second generation , while the third and subsequent generations would in all likelihood reach a state of total assimilation (i.e., dissolution into the host country’s majority). However, this traditional linear model of assimilation has recently been challenged by new trends that have emergedasparadoxesofglobalization:increasedmigrationaccompanied by a revival of ethnicity and fortification of transnational ethnic diasporas. Contrary to all forecasts, second- and third-generation immigrants often reclaim their ethnic roots and reestablish social and economic links with their long-lost homelands. Reflecting this reality, some social theorists envision a new multicultural society emerging on the intersection of the global and the local, with a mosaic of ethnic languages and lifestyles preserved in some fashion and to various degrees, or even enhanced (Grillo; Vertovec). A common flaw of current research on immigrant generations is that the divide between them is too crude, overlooking significant variance in the pace and quality of integration between members of the same formal “generation” who moved to the host country at different phases of the life cycle. Clearly, there is a substantial difference in the experiences of migrants who arrive as children, as adolescents, as young adults, in middle age, or as older adults, even if they all technically belong to the first generation of immigrants. Recent studies among first-generation immigrants in Israel, Germany , and the United States have pointed to the age at migration as a salient determinant of integration through its influence on such factors as host language learning, opportunities for education, occupational success, and social inclusion in the host society (Leshem and Lissak, “Development”; Nauck; Steinbach; Gold, “Soviet Jews”; Remennick, “What Does”). Of special interest is the integration process among the so-called 1.5 generation, that is, immigrants who move to the host country as older children and adolescents, having spent part of their formative years in the country of origin. So far, few special studies have analyzed the experiences of young migrants from this standpoint; most that have done so focused on Asian youth in the United...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-1568
Print ISSN
1044-2057
Pages
pp. 39-66
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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