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Schools as interethnic meeting places? The impact of ethnic school diversity on students' social life

Jannick Demanet UGent, Orhan Agirdag UGent and Mieke Van Houtte UGent (2011) European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts.
abstract
Growing immigration and ethnic diversity is a worldwide phenomenon and our schools provide increasing opportunities for contact between individuals from different ethnic groups. Scholars from different fields focusing on the consequences of such increased ethnic diversity either advocate a contact perspective - suggesting that contact between people from different ethnic backgrounds results in more cross-ethnic familiarity - or a conflict perspective - stating that increased interethnic contact yields inter-ethnic conflict. Recently, a third perspective was proposed, namely the constrict theory, which states that increased ethnic diversity in a context does not result in more relations – be it conflictual or friendly - between individuals from different ethnic groups, but in fewer relations in general. It is stated that ethnic diversity reduces social solidarity and interpersonal bonding, and yields more social withdrawal from both in-group and out-group members. Although research at the neighborhood level seems to support this line of thinking, the question remains whether constrict theory is applicable to all levels of analysis: choosing a higher or lower level of context might imply different results. Yet, the theory remains to be tested in a multitude of other contexts. In our contribution, we provide a first analysis of the validity of the constrict theory in the school context, expecting that ethnic school diversity yields fewer friendships, lower peer attachment, and more social withdrawal. Moreover, we investigate whether these results differ for natives and immigrants, and whether the associations hold when controlling for the school’s socioeconomic situation. Multilevel analyses on data from the Flemish Educational Assessment, consisting of 10,500 native and 1,259 immigrant students in 83 Flemish schools, suggest that there are differences between natives and immigrants. For immigrants, school ethnic diversity did not impact students’ number of friendships, peer attachment, or social avoidance behavior. For natives, on the other hand, ethnic diversity yielded fewer friendships and peer attachment. However, further analyses suggested that this was due to the school’s socio-economic composition. As such, we find no evidence that eventual ‘constrict’ behavior by students would hinder the role of multiethnic schools in integrating students from different ethnic groups.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
in
European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts
publisher
European Sociological Association (ESA)
conference name
10th Conference of the European Sociological Association : Social relations in turbulent times (ESA - 2011)
conference location
Geneva, Switzerland
conference start
2011-09-07
conference end
2011-09-10
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
id
1907630
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1907630
date created
2011-09-23 10:35:18
date last changed
2012-03-28 09:56:14
@inproceedings{1907630,
  abstract     = {Growing immigration and ethnic diversity is a worldwide phenomenon and our schools provide increasing opportunities for contact between individuals from different ethnic groups. Scholars from different fields focusing on the consequences of such increased ethnic diversity either advocate a contact perspective - suggesting that contact between people from different ethnic backgrounds results in more cross-ethnic familiarity - or a conflict perspective - stating that increased interethnic contact yields inter-ethnic conflict. Recently, a third perspective was proposed, namely the constrict theory, which states that increased ethnic diversity in a context does not result in more relations -- be it conflictual or friendly - between individuals from different ethnic groups, but in fewer relations in general. It is stated that ethnic diversity reduces social solidarity and interpersonal bonding, and yields more social withdrawal from both in-group and out-group members. Although research at the neighborhood level seems to support this line of thinking, the question remains whether constrict theory is applicable to all levels of analysis: choosing a higher or lower level of context might imply different results. Yet, the theory remains to be tested in a multitude of other contexts. In our contribution, we provide a first analysis of the validity of the constrict theory in the school context, expecting that ethnic school diversity yields fewer friendships, lower peer attachment, and more social withdrawal. Moreover, we investigate whether these results differ for natives and immigrants, and whether the associations hold when controlling for the school{\textquoteright}s socioeconomic situation. Multilevel analyses on data from the Flemish Educational Assessment, consisting of 10,500 native and 1,259 immigrant students in 83 Flemish schools, suggest that there are differences between natives and immigrants. For immigrants, school ethnic diversity did not impact students{\textquoteright} number of friendships, peer attachment, or social avoidance behavior. For natives, on the other hand, ethnic diversity yielded fewer friendships and peer attachment. However, further analyses suggested that this was due to the school{\textquoteright}s socio-economic composition. As such, we find no evidence that eventual {\textquoteleft}constrict{\textquoteright} behavior by students would hinder the role of multiethnic schools in integrating students from different ethnic groups.},
  author       = {Demanet, Jannick and Agirdag, Orhan and Van Houtte, Mieke},
  booktitle    = {European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Geneva, Switzerland},
  publisher    = {European Sociological Association (ESA)},
  title        = {Schools as interethnic meeting places? The impact of ethnic school diversity on students' social life},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Demanet, Jannick, Orhan Agirdag, and Mieke Van Houtte. 2011. “Schools as Interethnic Meeting Places? The Impact of Ethnic School Diversity on Students’ Social Life.” In European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts. European Sociological Association (ESA).
APA
Demanet, J., Agirdag, O., & Van Houtte, M. (2011). Schools as interethnic meeting places? The impact of ethnic school diversity on students’ social life. European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts. Presented at the 10th Conference of the European Sociological Association : Social relations in turbulent times (ESA - 2011), European Sociological Association (ESA).
Vancouver
1.
Demanet J, Agirdag O, Van Houtte M. Schools as interethnic meeting places? The impact of ethnic school diversity on students’ social life. European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts. European Sociological Association (ESA); 2011.
MLA
Demanet, Jannick, Orhan Agirdag, and Mieke Van Houtte. “Schools as Interethnic Meeting Places? The Impact of Ethnic School Diversity on Students’ Social Life.” European Sociological Association, 10th Conference, Abstracts. European Sociological Association (ESA), 2011. Print.