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OPEN FORUM: Daily Life and Social Integration of Immigrants in City and Small Town – Evidence from Norway

Author(s): Marko Valenta

Journal: International Journal of Multicultural Societies
ISSN 1817-4574

Volume: 9;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 284;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: Urban migration | rural migration | immigrants in Norway | integration | immigrant integration

The main argument of this paper is that the city and the small townprovide two different contexts for the reconstruction of social life in the period after immigrant resettlement. The social fabric of daily life in small Norwegian towns may be difficult to cope with for many immigrants. Stigmatised immigrants who do not manage to gainaccess to primary groups of indigenous locals may experience thesmall-town environment as a very problematic context for identityreproduction. If these immigrants do not manage to be absorbed intothe dense sociability of a small town, social exclusion andstigmatisation will be experienced more intensively than in a city. In their view, the city provides a better context for reconstructing social life than smaller local communities. On the other hand, someimmigrants may benefit if they settle in a small town. They mayexperience a strong sense of belonging and being recognised by themainstream. In emphasising immigrants’ social life and the diversityof their experiences, this study not only has relevance for sociological debates about the integration of immigrants, but also has important political implications. Among other factors, it strongly suggests the importance of diversifying integration and settlement policies.
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