Place of Birth, Citizenship, Education or Social Surrounding – What Influences the Feeling of Belonging?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:45
Oral Presentation
Manfred ZENTNER, Donau-Universität Krems, Austria
Verica PAVIC ZENTNER, Social Identity Research, Austria
In post-modern societies, youth must develop their identities based on influences from various socialisation instances. Young people create and invent their identity in the framework of a media-, information- and network society as well as in very traditional settings like families, and extended family groups in more collectivistic societies. Especially for young people from migrant families these influences might be conflicting and thus both enabling and hindering a harmonic integration in the host country. Particularly the feeling of belonging, the personal ethnic/national attribution irrespective of actual citizenship – especially for descendants from "new" states with common history but different recent developments – is important for evidence-based integration/migration policies.

A recent qualitative research project analysed in 12 case studies the feeling of belonging of young people in Austria with and without migrant background. Yugoslavia and its successor countries was the regional origin of many migrant families in Austria. Many children in these families grew up in the Austrian education system, in an open society, with Austrian colleagues and at the same time in a family, which was rooted in a more traditional value system. To understand the influence of both, the Austrian and the Balkan culture socialisation system, helps to understand models of integration and enables to develop support measures for integration.

The research focusses on the influences of media, traditions, religions, family, friends and education on the development of feelings of belonging framed in concepts of citizenship and political participation but also in family concepts and gender roles. The consequences of voluntary or forced migration of the parental generation from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, or Serbia, and the gender interpretations in those societies in the ambivalent relation to the Austrian host society create a mixture both of gender roles interpretations and of national/ethnic self-classification.