necesary shift - Journal of Identity and Migration Studies...

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Journal of Identity and Migration Studies Volume 2, number 1, 2008 37 RESEARCH ARTICLES Migrant Integration: Case for a Necessary Shift of Paradigm Dieu Donné HACK-POLAY Abstract. This article deals with the antagonism between the need for migrant communities to maintain their native culture and the necessity to integrate in the dominant community in order to achieve social harmony and socio-economic promotion. The article found that cultural isolation could alienate some migrants who may see in the establishment of the community organisation a way of leading a migrant life that requires neither increased contacts with indigenous groups nor specific training. The migrants find themselves locked in menial jobs and do not experience upward social mobility. The situation points to a need to rethink the management of community organisations and support systems. Keywords: migrant integration, community organizations, socio-cultural identities, Polish immigrants in UK Introduction and background Attempting to maintain socio-cultural identities in the host country is not a new phenomenon among immigrants and minority ethnic communities. Such attempts are part of the struggle to retain a community’s roots. There is evidence that many immigrant communities tend to settle in particular areas of the capital and other UK towns and cities (Bloch, 2002, Hack-Polay, 2006a) in order to strengthen ties between them, keep alive aspects of their culture and fight against acculturation. Migrant and ethnic communities have not been outside this general picture and some, such as the Polish community in the United Kingdom, have long been known for their strong linguistic and cultural survival. For the Poles, for instance, the generations that immigrated to the UK during the First and Second World Wars established foundations on which later generations built to keep Poland, the Polish language and culture alive abroad for decades .
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Dieu Donné HACK-POLAY JIMS - Volume 2, number 1, 2008 38 A large number of the immigrants have been very successful citizens in the host countries (Robinson, 2000). In the fulfilment their citizenship responsibilities, Tabori (1972) believes that most feel indebted to the country of settlement and therefore work hard to demonstrate their worthiness as citizens. The Polish communities in the UK can be credited with a large degree of success (British Refugee Council, 2002; Hack-Polay, 2006b). However, some of the immigrants are left behind due to a number of factors which could include language acquisition and the degree and extent of exploitation of social networks available. For the less successful migrants, the lack of competence in the language of the host country often becomes a disabling factor. A number of researchers in the field of sociolinguistics have highlighted some major social and psychological factors impacting on the successful integration of migrants in the host environment. For Mitchell and Myles (2001, p.24), there are cognitive factors, e.g. intelligence,
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necesary shift - Journal of Identity and Migration Studies...

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