The second generation in Europe and the United States: How is the transatlantic debate relevant for further research on the European second generation?

Mark Thomson, Maurice Crul

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This introductory paper to the special issue of JEMS on the second generation in Europe reviews some of the key themes underpinning the growing interest in the second generation, and asks what 'integration' actually means in contemporary debates about immigration and settlement. The authors attempt to place these debates within their specific national contexts, in particular by applying US-developed theories of second-generation integration to Europe. In this way, we build on the embryonic transatlantic dialogue about which factors potentially account for different patterns of second-generation integration in different countries. Integration, in this sense, refers both to structural aspects such as educational and labour-market status as well as to a broader and at times fuzzier concept that includes ideas of culture, ethnic or religious identity and citizenship. The paper also sets the scene for the various articles in this special issue which together illustrate the thematic breadth of European-based research on the children of immigrants. We conclude by offering two theoretical avenues for future research on ethnic minority groups and their settlement patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1041
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number7
Early online date3 Aug 2007
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

Bibliographical note

Special issue: The Second Generation in Europe


  • Ethnic cohesion
  • Europe
  • Integration
  • Second generation
  • Segmented assimilation
  • United States

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