The emergence of middle‐classes that articulate their ethnic distinctiveness leads to discomfort and bewilderment in many societies. This rejection arises from assimilationist demands and straight‐line integration assumptions which dominate the integration discourse. Relying on social‐psychological theories, this mixed‐methods study explores the ethnic identification of university‐educated second‐generation Moroccan and Turkish Dutch. The findings once more underscore that ethnic and national identifications are not mutually exclusive, nor are ethnic identifications mere acts of ethnic retention. The findings suggest that social mobility shapes processes of ethnic identification in particular ways, in the sense that the belonging and self‐esteem that come with achieving an advanced socio‐economic status allow for (and even encourage) assertion of the ethnic‐minority identity; an ethnic identity that is partially reinvented. The insights of this study can help nuance the increasingly polarizing and exclusionary integration debates.
- social mobility