Thesis Spotlights – Aspirations, Attainments & Strategies: Descendants of Middle Eastern Immigrants on the Swedish Labour Market
Pinar Aslan, PhD student, Sweden
Email: Pinar.Aslan [at] hig.se
Institution: The Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Social Work and Psychology, University of Gävle, Sweden, in cooperation with the Department of Social Work, Umeå University, Sweden
Time: PhD project started in November 2013 and to be finished in December 2018
Supervisors: Prof. Nader Ahmadi (University of Gävle, Sweden; main supervisor), Eva Wikström (Umeå University, Sweden), Stefan Sjöberg (University of Gävle, Sweden)
This thesis examines the labour market participation of descendants of Middle Eastern immigrants in Sweden. The study is based on qualitative interviews with twenty-one individuals in employment, born in Sweden and with both parents born in a Middle Eastern country. The aim was to explore influences on their occupational aspirations and attainments in relation to support received from family and welfare state institutions, and the use of personal agency. The thesis is a compilation of four articles. The main findings of article one, in which the focus is on the influence of family members, are that intergenerational migrant experiences, deployed as parental support and inspiration, positively influenced participants’ labour market participation.
In article two, the focus is on how intergenerational gender norms influence the subjectivation processes and labour market participation of descendants of immigrants.It sheds light on their efforts to alter the gender norms of the parental generation, while struggling with societal pressures of being caring mothers and male providers. Article three investigates the role of public officials in providing support for the labour market participation of immigrants’ descendants. The paper concludes with three supportive elements of relationships with public officials, namely (1) establishing connectedness, (2) increasing clients’ self-belief, and (3) mediation of knowledge and information.
Article four explores strategies for labour market entry among descendants of immigrants and shows that while they benefit from demands for cross-cultural knowledge in the job-search process, the same demands give rise to alienating processes. In summary, the thesis contributes to discussions about the inclusion and exclusion of descendants of immigrants and suggests an intergenerational and contextual approach to immigrants’ integration into West-European societies.