Structural, cultural and social integration among youth: A multidimensional comparative project

We use the large-scale CILS4EU/CILS-NOR data on young people of immigrant and majority origins, collected by us with the purpose of giving a comprehensive understanding of integration. 

Our theoretical approach has two pillars, which have also guided the empirical design. First: Integration is a multidimensional process where structural, cultural, social and psychological aspects are intertwined. Second, integration can be fruitfully understood as an intersection between origins (O), destinations (D), and exposure (E), and our data has been designed so as to maximize the comparative potential in these respects.

The project covers eight themes, centered around questions derived from the international literature and from our knowledge about the specific contexts we study. The themes concern, e.g., the role of exposure to the destination country, gendered patterns of integration, the prominence of a Muslim/non-Muslim divide, selective acculturation, and how ethnic inequalities are patterned by educational tracking/streaming. We have carefully selected our themes based on their scientific and policy relevance, the lack of conclusive results in the existing literature, and the potential of our data to significantly reduce the knowledge gap. 

With our multidimensional approach, we seek to move the research landscape away from fragmentation and towards a more holistic perspective on integration. Our themes look at patterns of, and interactions between, (1) structural integration, e.g., youth’s educational and economic situation, (2) social integration, e.g., friendship across ethnic lines, but also exclusion and bullying, (3) cultural integration, e.g., values, identity and religiosity, and (4) psychological adaptation, e.g., mental wellbeing and anti-social behavior.  Our research will respond to pressing contemporary questions where systematic knowledge is missing, thereby providing important input to evidence-based policy-making.


Thomas Jacobsson

Thomas Jacobsson

Senior Adviser