Agency and Adaptation: Strategies of Immigrants’ Descendants on the Swedish Labor Market
This article explores how descendants of immigrants in Sweden understand labor market conditions, and how such understandings influence their occupational strategies. We interviewed 21 Sweden-born individuals with non-Western immigrant parents, and identified three strategies based on our analysis of the data: ‘choosing’ the right job, adapting the habitus, and using cultural capital in flexible ways. The first strategy covers interviewees working in jobs with labor shortages and/or high demand for employees with immigrant background. The second covers interviewees who could learn through failing, with substantial resilience and persistence. The third deals with interviewees who searched for jobs in branches that valued their particular skill set, entailing the importance of being flexible on the labor market
Adida, C. L., Laitin, D. D., & Valfort, M.-A. (2010). Identifying barriers to Muslim integration in France, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 107: 22384–22390. Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015550107
Ahmadi, F., Palm, I., & Ahmadi, N. (2016). Mångfaldsbarometern 2016 (FOU Report 44). Gävle: Gävle University Press, Available at http://hig.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1085307/FULLTEXT01.pdf
Andersson, E., & Malmberg, B. (2018). Segregation and the effects of adolescent residential context on poverty risks and early income career: a study of the Swedish 1980 cohort, Urban Studies 55(2): 365–383. Doi: 10.1177/0042098016643915
Arrighetti, A., Bolzani, D., & Lasagni, A. (2014). Beyond the enclave? Break-outs into mainstream markets and multicultural hybridism in ethnic firms, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development 26(9-10): 753–777. Doi: 10.1080/08985626.2014.992374
Baert, S., Cockx, B., Gheyle, N., & Vandamme, C. (2015). Is there less discrimination in occupations where recruitment is difficult? Industrial and Labor Relations Review 68(3): 467–500. Doi: 10.1177/0019793915570873
Behtoui, A. (2006). Unequal Opportunities. The Impact of Social Capital and Recruitment Methods on Immigrants and their Children in the Swedish Labour Market (Doctoral dissertation). Linköping University, Linköping. Doi: 10.1111/j.1121-7081.2004.00281.x
Behtoui, A. (2012). Incorporation of children of immigrants: the case of descendants of immigrants from Turkey in Sweden, Ethnic and Racial Studies 36(12): 2141–2159. Doi: 10.1080/01419870.2012.696667
Behtoui, A. (2015). Social capital. In: C. Westin (Ed.), The Integration of Descendants of Migrants from Turkey in Stockholm: The TIES Study in Sweden (pp. 57–67), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Doi: 10.5117/9789089648419
Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In: J. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education (pp. 241-258), Westport CT: Greenwood. Doi: 10.1002/9780470755679.ch15
Bourdieu, P. (1990). The Logic of Practice, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Bourdieu, P. (1999). Praktiskt förnuft. Bidrag till en handlingsteori [Practical reason. On the theory of action], Göteborg: Daidalos.
Bourdieu, P. (2000). Pascalian Meditations, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Bourdieu, P. (2008). Sketch for a Self-Analysis, United Kingdom: Polity Press
Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. (1992). An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bourdieu, P., & Passeron, J. C. (1979). The Inheritors. French Students and their Relation to Culture, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Broady, D. (1998). Kapitalbegreppet som utbildningssociologiskt verktyg [The concept of capital as a tool for the sociology of education] (Skeptron 15), Uppsala: Uppsala universitet.
Bursell, M. (2014). The multiple burdens of foreign-named men—evidence from a field experiment on gendered ethnic hiring discrimination in Sweden, European Sociological Review 30: 399–409. Doi: 10.1093/esr/jcu047
Butler, J. (1997). Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative, London: Routledge.
Crul, M., Keskiner, E., & Lelie, F. (2017). The upcoming new elite among children of immigrants: a cross-country and cross-sector comparison, Ethnic and Racial Studies 40(2): 209–229. Doi: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1245432
Crul, M., & Mollenkopf, J. (2012). The Changing Face of World Cities. Young Adult Children of Immigrants in Europe and the United States, New York: Russell Sage.
Dahl, M., & Krog, N. (2018). Experimental Evidence of Discrimination in the Labour Market: Intersections between Ethnicity, Gender and Socio-Economic Status, European Sociological Review 34(4): 402-417. Doi: 10.1093/esr/jcy020
Dreby, J. (2010). Divided by borders. Mexican migrants and their children, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Dubois, A., & Gadde, L. E. (2002). Systematic combining: an abductive approach to case research, Journal of Business Research 55(2): 553–560. Doi: 0.1016/S0148-2963(00)00195-8
Dumais, S. A. (2002). Cultural capital, gender, and school success: the role of habitus, Sociology of Education 75(1): 44–68. Doi: 10.2307/3090253
Ekholm, D., & Dahlstedt, M. (2019). Social exclusion and multi-ethnic suburbs in Sweden. In The Routledge Companion to the Suburbs (pp. 163–172). Available at http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-151369
Eliassi, B. (2015). Constructing cultural Otherness within the Swedish welfare state: the cases of social workers in Sweden, Qualitative Social Work 14(4): 554–571. Doi: 10.1177/1473325014559091
Feliciano, C., & Lanuza, Y. R. (2016). The immigrant advantage in adolescent educational expectations, International Migration Review 50(3): 758-792. Doi: 10.1111/imre.12183
Feliciano, C., & Lanuza, Y. R. (2017). An immigrant paradox? Contextual attainment and intergenerational educational mobility, American Sociological Review 82(1): 211-241. Doi: 10.1177/0003122416684777
Fontana, A., & Frey, J. H. (2008). The interview: from neutral stance to political involvement. In: N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and Interpreting Qualitative Material (pp. 115–160), California: Sage
Friberg, J. H., & Midtbøen, A. H. (2018). Ethnicity as skill: Immigrant employment hierarchies in Norwegian low-wage labour markets, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 44(9): 1463-1478. Doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2017.1388160
Friese, S. (2014). Qualitative Data Analysis with ATLAS.ti (2nd edition), London: Sage.
Gerhards, J. & Hans, S. (2013). Transnational human capital, education, and social inequality. Analyses of international student exchange, Zeitschrift für Soziologie 42(2): 99–117. Doi: 10.1515/zfsoz-2013-0203
Gruber, S. (2016). Cultural competence in institutional care for youths: experts with ambivalent positions, Nordic Social Work Research 6(2): 89–101. Doi: 10.1080/2156857X.2015.1109541
Guiraudon, V. (2014). Economic crisis and institutional resilience: the political economy of migrant incorporation, West European Politics 37(6): 1297–1313. Doi: 10.1080/01402382.2014.929335
Gupta, N. D., & Kromann, L. (2014). Differences in the labor market entry of second-generation immigrants and ethnic
Danes, IZA Journal of Migration 3(16). Doi: 10.1186/s40176-014-0016-5
Heath, A. (2010). Main determinants of educational and labour market outcomes. In: Equal Opportunities? The Labour Market Integration of the Children of Immigrants (pp. 115–127), Brussels: OECD. Doi: 10.1787/g21201964-en
Hedberg, C., & Petterson, K. (2012). Disadvantage, ethnic niching or pursuit of a vision? Motives of immigrant women care entrepreneurs in the ageing Swedish society, Journal of International Migration & Integration 13(4): 423–440. Doi: 10.1007/s12134-011-0217-1
Hermansen, A.S. (2013). Occupational attainment among children of immigrants in Norway: bottlenecks into employment – equal access to advantaged positions, European Sociological Review 29(3): 517-534. Doi: 10.1093/esr/jcr094
Hermansen, A. S. (2016). Moving up or falling behind? Intergenerational socioeconomic transmission among children of immigrants in Norway, European Sociological Review 32(5): 675-689. Doi: 10.1093/esr/jcw024
Iacono, V. L., Symonds, P., & Brown, D. H. K. (2016). Skype as a tool for qualitative research interviews, Sociological Research Online 21(2): 12. Doi: 10.5153/sro.3952
Jæger, M. M., & Breen, R. (2016). A dynamic model of cultural reproduction, American Journal of Sociology 121(4): 1079–1115. Doi: 10.1086/684012
Jonsson, J. O. (2007). The farther they come, the harder they fall? First- and second-generation immigrants in the Swedish labour market, Proceedings of the British Academy 137: 451–505. Doi: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263860.003.0011
Karsten, S. (2010). School segregation. In: Equal Opportunities? The Labour Market Integration of the Children of Immigrants (pp. 193–210), Brussels: OECD. Doi: 10.1787/9789264086395-en
Kaya, G. (2018). Aspirations, capital and identity. Four studies on the determinants of life chances for young Swedes with an immigrant background (Lund Dissertations in Sociology), Lund: Lund University
Keskiner, E., & Crul, M. (2017). How to reach the top? Fields, forms of capital, and strategies in accessing leadership positions in France among descendants of immigrants from Turkey, Ethnic and Racial Studies 40(2): 283–300. Doi: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1245435
Kilpi-Jakonen, E. (2011). Continuation to upper secondary education in Finland: children of immigrants and the majority compared, Acta Sociologica 54(1): 77–106. Doi: 10.1177/0001699310392604
Kindt, M. T. (2017). Innvandrerdriv eller middelklassedriv? Norsk Sosiologisk Tidsskrift 1(01): 71-86. Doi: 10.18261/issn.2535-2512-2017-01-05
Konyali, A. (2017). International opportunities on the way up: alternative career paths of descendants of migrants from Turkey in the field of professional business services, Ethnic and Racial Studies 40(2): 264–282. Doi: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1245430
Kushnirovich, N. (2010), Ethnic niches and immigrants' integration, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 30(7/8): 412-426. Doi: 10.1108/01443331011060751
Lamont, M., & Lareau, A. (1988). Cultural capital: allusions, gaps and glissandos in recent theoretical developments, Sociological Theory 6: 153-168. Doi: 10.2307/202113
Lee, E. M., & Kramer, R. (2013). Out with the old, in with the new? Habitus and social mobility at selective colleges, Sociology of Education 86(1): 18-35. Doi: 10.1177/0038040712445519
Liebkind, K., Larja, L., & Brylka, A. A. (2016). Ethnic and gender discrimination in recruitment: experimental evidence from Finland, Journal of Social and Political Psychology 4(1): 403-426. Doi: 10.5964/jspp.v4i1.433
Light, I. (2007). Women’s economic niches and earnings inferiority: the view from the ethnic economy, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 33(4): 541–557. Doi: 10.1080/13691830701265412
Louie, V. (2012). Keeping the Immigrant Bargain: The Costs and Rewards of Success in America, New York: Russell Sage.
Luthra, R. R., & Soehl, T. (2015). From parent to child? Transmission of educational attainment within immigrant families: methodological considerations, Demography 52(2): 543-567. Doi: 10.1007/s13524-015-0376-3
Midtbøen, A. H. (2016). Discrimination of the second generation: evidence from a field experiment in Norway, Journal of International Migration and Integration 17(1): 253–272. Doi: 10.1007/s12134-014-0406-9
Midtbøen, A.H. & Nadim, M. (2019). Ethnic niche formation at the top? Second-generation immigrants in Norwegian high-status occupations, Ethnic and Racial Studies 42(16): 177-195. Doi: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1638954
Nielsen, H. S., Rosholm, M., Smith, N., & Husted, L. (2003). The school-to-work transition of 2 nd generation immigrants in Denmark, Journal of Population Economics 16(4): 755-786. Doi: 10.1007/s00148-003-0164-z
Nohl, A. M., Schittenhelm, K., Schmidtke, O., & Weiss, A. (2014). Work in Transition: Cultural Capital and Highly Skilled Migrants’ Passages into the Labour Market, London: University of Toronto Press. Doi: 10.3138/9781442668737
Nordic Council of Ministers. (2018). State of the Nordic Region 2018, Copenhagen. Doi: 10.6027/NORD2018-001
OECD (2017). Catching Up? Intergenerational Mobility and Children of Immigrants, Paris: OECD. Doi: 10.1787/9789264288041-en
Olofsson, J. (2018). Ungas etableringsvillkor och arbetslivets förändringar – några utgångspunkter [Conditions for the establishment of young people – some premises]. In: J. Olofsson & F. Wikström (Eds.), Unga inför arbetslivet – om utanförskap, lärande och delaktighet, (pp. 15 – 44), Lund: Studentlitteratur.
Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methods (4th edition), London: Sage.
Portes, A., & Fernandez-Kelly, P. (2008). No margin for error: educational and occupational achievement among disadvantaged children of immigrants, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 620(1): 12–36. Doi: 10.1177/0002716208322577
Rambaree, K. & Faxelid, E. (2013). Considering abductive thematic network analysis with ATLAS-ti 6.2. In: N. Sappleton (Ed.), Advancing Research Methods with New Technologies (pp. 170–186), Hershey PA: IGI Global. Doi: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3918-8.ch010
Rezai, S. (2017). Self-made lawyers? Pathways of socially mobile descendants of migrants from Turkey in Europe, Ethnic and Racial Studies 40(2): 230–246. Doi: 10.1080/01419870.2017.1245433
Rytter, M. (2011). Money or education? Improvement strategies among Pakistani families in Denmark, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37(2): 197-215. Doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2011.521356
Schneider, J., & Lang, C. (2014). Social mobility, habitus and identity formation in the Turkish-German second generation, New Diversities 16(1): 89–105. Available at http://newdiversities.mmg.mpg.de/?page_id=1790
Schröder, L. (2015). The labour market. In: C. Westin (Ed.), The Integration of Descendants of Migrants from Turkey in Stockholm. The TIES Study in Sweden (pp. 103-123), Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Doi: 10.5117/9789089648419
Silva, E. B. (2016). Unity and fragmentation of the habitus, Sociological Review 64(1): 166–183. Doi: 10.1111/1467-954X.12346
Statistics Sweden (2010). Born in Sweden – but still different? The significance of parents’ country of birth (Demographic Report 2010:2), Stockholm: Statistics Sweden.
Tasiran, A., & Tezic, K. (2007). Early labour-market experiences of second-generation immigrants in Sweden, Applied Economics 39(7): 809-824. Doi: 10.1080/00036840500461915
Thomson, M., & Crul, M. (2007). The second generation in Europe and the United States: how is the transatlantic debate relevant for further research on the European second generation? Journal of Ethnic and Immigration Studies 33(7): 1025–1041. Doi: 10.1080/13691830701541556
Urban, S. (2012). University education as a compensation strategy among second-generation immigrants, International Migration Review 46(4): 919–940. Doi: 10.1111/imre.12005
Volery, T. (2007). Ethnic entrepreneurship: a theoretical framework. In: L. P. Dana (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship: A Co-Evolutionary View on Resource Management (pp. 30–41), Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Wacquant, L. (2006). Pierre Bourdieu. In R. Stones (Ed)., Key Sociological Thinkers. (pp. 261–278), Houndsmill, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wacquant, L. (2014). Putting habitus in its place: rejoinder to the symposium. Body & Society 20(2): 118–139. Doi: 10.1177/1357034X14530845
Waldring, I., Crul, M., & Ghorashi, H. (2014). The fine art of boundary sensitivity. Successful second generation Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands, New Diversities 16(1): 71–87. Available at https://research.vu.nl/ws/portalfiles/portal/1105027/article+in+new+diversities.pdf
Wee, L. (2014). Language politics and global city, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 35(5): 649–660. Doi: 10.1080/01596306.2014.922740
Zhou, M. (2013). Ethnic enclaves and niches. In: I. Ness (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. doi: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm201
How to Cite
The Copyright Holder of this Journal is the authors and the Journal. This Journal gives Open Access with CreativeCommons license CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0.
You can download all the content of the Journal and share it with others as long as you credit the authors and the journal, but you can’t change it in any way or use it commercially.
More specifically this license means that you – authors and users – may:
Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or form as long as you follow the license terms. The freedom to share includes parallel publishing on authors’ own website and in institutional repositories or in ResearchGate after publication in NJWLS, or if you want to reprint your article as part of publication of a PhD-thesis or a dissertation
You may share under these terms:
Attribution — You must give appropriate credit and provide a link to the license. Appropriate credit implies that you provide the name of the creator and attribution parties, a copyright notice, a license notice, a disclaimer notice, and a link to the material. The link used should be its DOI.
NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. A commercial use is one primarily intended for commercial advantage or monetary compensation.
NoDerivatives — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. Merely changing the format never creates a derivative.
Exceptions to the license terms may be granted
If you want to use content in the Journal in another way then described by this license, you must contact the licensor and ask for permission. Contact Bo Carstens at email@example.com. Exceptions are always given for specific purposes and specific content only.
The Journal is listed as a blue journal in Sherpa/Romeo, meaning that the author can archive post-print ((ie final draft post-refereeing) and author can archive publisher's version/PDF.
Copyright of others
Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere.
All published material is archived at Roskilde University Library, Denmark, and transmitted to the Danish Royal Library in conformity with the Danish rules of legal deposit.
We do not screen articles for plagiarism. It is the responsibility of the authors to make sure they do not plagiate.