Migration Success As an Indicator of Migrants' Well-Being

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Christoph REINPRECHT, University of Vienna, Austria
Do migration experiences negatively affect the subjectively experienced level of well-being? International research suggests that the relatively low level of well-being among relevant parts of immigrant populations is related to their limited capacity to control one’s life conditions, whereby the limited capacity of control is mostly interpreted as a consequence of a fragile status both in economic, legal, social, and cultural terms. By contrast, kinship and ethnic orientation are often identified as compensatory resources which may positively influence the sense of well-being, even under the condition of poverty and precariousness. These insights are in line with the traditional integration-approach: subjective well-being as a marker for migration andintegration success.

In my paper I will present a different way to measure well-being in the context of migration, by taking subjective migration success as a key variable. However, contrary to the widely spread practice to operationalize migration success by a summarized evaluation of one’s migration project, my paper underlines the necessity to take into account the initial reasons and objectives of the individual migration project, and their fulfillment within it. It seems to be fruitful to conceptualize migration success in the intersection of (objective) status and (subjective) evaluation both of the migration project in general, and the multiple aspects of goal attainment in particular. Based on quantitative surveys among immigrants from former Yugoslavia and Turkey carried out in Vienna, Austria, the paper confirms the capacity of migrants to produce well-being under conditions of poverty and marginalization; furthermore, data analyses emphasize the particular relevance of specific goals such as future related investments an achieved autonomous life-course as key variables of success. 

These empirical insights strengthen the argument that policies should basically be oriented in increasing migrants’ capacity for individual and group-related self-realization.