The impact of social-cultural integration on ethnic minority group members' attitudes towards society
De impact van sociaal-culturele integratie op de houding van allochtonen t.a.v. de samenleving
Van Craen, Maarten; S0040735;
In this dissertation I examined the impact of social-cultural integration on ethnic minority group members' attitudes towards society. More s pecifically, I focused on three questions: 1) What is the impact of social integration on minority group members' trust in the police? 2) What is the impact of social-cultural integration on minority group members' political trust? 3) What is the impact of cultural integration on minority group members' identification with majority (sub-)groups? I used data collected in Flemish Belgium from respondents of Turkish and Moroccan descent in order to explore whether and how subdimensions of social-cul tural integration influence aspects of social cohesion.Empirical research in Antwerp, Ghent and Genk suggests that bridging social contacts have the potential to generate trust in the police. The results showed that minority group members have greater trust in the police the more often they chat with neighbours from the majority group. Yet, both this study and research in Genk and Houthalen-Helchteren revealed that not all kinds of bridging social contacts are beneficial. I found that the experience of being frequently discriminated against by society corrodes minority group members' trust in the police. Frequent experiences of discrimination at work, at school, when shopping, when going out, or in other circumstances, leave negative traces. The study in Genk and Hout halen-Helchteren revealed a negative relationship between some aspects of social-cultural integration and minority group members' political trust. The more often respondents with a Moroccan background chat with native neighbours and the more often respondents with a Turkish background watch Dutch-language television, the less trusting they are. In line with evidence for Latinos living in the United States the findings suggest that by integrating in the dominant group Moroccan and Turkish descendants are exposed to the cynicism of majority group members and learn that they are the targets of discrimination. Both processes make minority group members sceptical of (supra-local) government. However, it would be wrong to conclude from this that social-cultural integration has no potential to generate political trust. A second study among Turkish descendants from Ghent and Genk showed that they have greater trust in federal government the more often they chat with neighbours from the majority group. Yet, this study also confirmed that there is a drawback: bridging social contacts may lead to experiences of discrimination, which undermine the empowerment function of social-cultural integration. My researc h further suggests that command of the majority language (Dutch) strengthens minority group members' sense of national, regional, provincial and local identity. The impact of command of Dutch increases as identities are more exclusively defined by the Flemish majority group. The relationship between consumption of Dutch-language media and (sub-)national identification seems to be a totally different story. I only found one significant effect: analyses on the data collected in Genk and Houthalen-Helchteren revealed a positive relationship between reading a Dutch-language newspaper and provincial identity. The findings suggest that the characteristics of the media market and the media content play an important role in shaping identities.