Resocialization of Immigrants

  • Adiba Khan
  • Show Author Details
  • Adiba Khan

    Student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

Abstract

Resocialization is the process where a person learns the norms, beliefs, and values of a new setting or a social responsibility and strives to practice it in his life. Resocialization can depend on major or minor shifts in someone's life and can also be voluntary or involuntary. It encompasses a variety of changes like taking up a new job or switching the work environment, or relocating to a different country and learning the customs, language, dress code, etc. In socialization, the development of a person is a lifelong process, whereas, in resocialization, the development of the person is redirected based on the new setting. Immigrants are an essential part of the population in states where the birth-rates have seriously fallen in the last fifty years. Immigration affects the demographic as well as the economy of a country. The inflow of immigrants revitalizes the labour forces in industrial countries. It is challenging to comprehend the dynamics of the social and political effects in a country when a large number of immigrants come in from dramatically different political scenarios. Researchers have noticed that the resocialization of immigrants is easier as their political and social bearings are flexible. But some theories have also denied this by stating that the initial political learning strongly conditions the following political learning and that immigrants find it challenging to settle in a fundamentally distinct political environment.

Type

Research Paper

Information

International Journal of Law Managment and Humanities,
Volume 4, Issue 2, Page 516 - 523

DOI: http://doi.one/10.1732/IJLMH.26091

Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Copyright

Copyright © IJLMH 2021

I. Introduction

Resocialization is the process where a person learns the norms, beliefs, and values of a new setting or a social responsibility and strives to practice it in his life. Resocialization can depend on major or minor shifts in someone’s life and can also be voluntary or involuntary. It encompasses a variety of changes like taking up a new job or switching the work environment, or relocating to a different country and learning the customs, language, dress code, etc.

In socialization, the development of a person is a lifelong process, whereas, in resocialization, the development of the person is redirected based on the new setting. Immigrants are an essential part of the population in states where the birth-rates have seriously fallen in the last fifty years. Immigration affects the demographic as well as the economy of a country. The inflow of immigrants revitalizes the labour forces in industrial countries. It is challenging to comprehend the dynamics of the social and political effects in a country when a large number of immigrants come in from dramatically different political scenarios.

Researchers have noticed that the resocialization of immigrants is easier as their political and social bearings are flexible. But some theories have also denied this by stating that the initial political learning strongly conditions the following political learning and that immigrants find it challenging to settle in a fundamentally distinct political environment.

There are two types of resocialization theories, the theory of exposure and the theory of transferability. These help in understanding how immigrants accommodate a new political scene. Philip Converse had identified nearly fifty years ago, “significant increments of political learning are visible over the whole course of adult participation in the electorate”.[1] Observational evidence has also confirmed that participation and the degree of political interest continue to grow and intensify throughout a person’s life.[2]

II. Immigrants acclimating to the new scenario

The theory of exposure talks about how immigrants are exposed to and are influenced by the environment of the new country’s political order, the longer they are exposed, the more they conform to the setting. In the United States, Latino and other immigrant group voters have increased once they obtain residency.

These findings although have helped in analysing the behaviour of immigrants, the data is not consistent. A study suggested that unlike what the theory of exposure proposes, both partisanship and voter turnout increase with age rather than a first-hand encounter with election campaigning. [3]

  • Theory of Transferability

The theory of transferability states that immigrants adapt to the new environment of the country not just by exposure to the political system, but many other factors. It has been suggested that immigrants can draw from their past experiences and use those lessons from their previous environment in their new environment. According to Black “More important than the specific context in which political involvement takes place is the question of whether it takes place at all-that-is, it is the accumulation of experience with, and interest in politics per se that is more important.”[4] In other words, exposure to whether the old or new political environment will make it easier to participate in politics and individuals try to find effective ways to develop political skills.

One empiric interpretation of the transferability hypothesis is that the attitudes and actions of immigrants should be related to the same basic demographic variables as those of native-born populations. And because age captures the cumulative political experiences of immigrants, age turns out to be an important determinant of the political commitment of immigrants, no matter how long they have lived in the new country.[5]

Thus, the past involvement of immigrants in politics and their previous trends of participation emerge as strong predictors of engagement in the new host nation, regardless of country of origin, likewise suggest a clear association between age and political engagement in the new country, even after controlling for duration of stay in the new country, country of origin, and degree of prior political engagement. Therefore, the kind of political ideology that immigrants switch from one political system to another may well involve both previous party membership and ideological outlooks.

  • Theory of Resistance

A third viewpoint, the theory of resistance, is based more on the classical theory of political socialization and is less optimistic about the possibility of immigrant adaptation. From that point of view, the presumption is that “people acquire relatively enduring orientations toward politics in general and their particular political systems”.[6] Political socialization is seen as cumulative, an orientation that is gained earlier in life filters follow-up information, and new awareness is integrated into ways that usually conform to established orientations.

The key argument is that much of the political predispositions are gained early in life during the “formative years.” These political preferences may be formed by external political, social, or economic shocks such as wars, economic crises, and political pressures that have occurred in the formative years, but the common knowledge is that these orientations intensify over a comparatively brief period, become steady as the formative year’s end, and are immune to alterations.[7]

Because prior social and political learning has a deep impact on all later learning, people tend to evade or refuse environmental messages that are inconsistent. The orientations developed during the formative years. In the case of immigrants, then, the expectation is that adaptation to a new political system will be difficult: the political orientations of immigrants will be resistant to change for longer immigrants have spent in their country of origin.

The basic premises underlying these three hypotheses and the resulting requirements for the adaptability of immigrants are very different. The resistance perspective emphasizes the value of pre-migration learning: because old and new political environments are different, and because prior experience makes it more difficult to internalize new political norms, resocialization is not straightforward.

The assumption, however, is that the new environment is important: how well immigrants adapt to their new environment depends on the period of exposure to the new environment. From a transferability perspective, pre-migration political learning will potentially allow immigrants to adjust to their new world. From this point of view, the basic elements of political thinking are not contexted specifically. Rather, the emphasis is on the continuity of immigrant life experiences; thus, moving from one sense to another is more flexible than either resistance or exposure.

III. Difficulty in adaptating

The difficulties of adaptation also rely, of course, on other factors, such as the degree to which similarities or discontinuities exist between the old and the new world of the immigrant. And there is evidence that not only do immigrant orientations mimic those of the native-born population as their length of stay in the new host country increases, but also that the greater the resemblance between the new and the old environments of immigrants, the easier it is for them to move experiences from the old to the new setting. [8]

Most longitudinal work on the resocialization of the immigrant community’s focused on the effect of age and knowledge on the new host country’s political system on political engagement and partisanship. The results, however, are somewhat inconsistent. Research that considers age and exposure usually indicate that both variables have a favourable relationship to political participation among other immigrants.

Such inconsistent results may be clarified by a variety of factors.  First, there is a wide difference in what researchers find to be the primary subject of study. Some focus on, for example, the development of political identity or involvement in politics, while others concentrate on activities such as political identity. There is no reason to assume that the adaptation pathways will be the same for each dimension of the meeting.

Second, several inquiries test theories that are rooted in one dimension of the theory of socialization, but not in others. Third, the unevenness of study results can also reflect the fact that some studies concentrate on single immigrant communities in local settings. It is not clear if the adaptive dynamics of certain immigrant communities, such as Latinos in the United States, can generalize the potential of immigrant subgroups to be more widely viewed.

Despite these discrepancies in theoretical orientation and empirical implementation, the only result that appears most certainly from these research works is its time for a change. Specifically, how time is conceptualized, it is argued that it is important for both empirical and theoretical views. In practice, the time variable is commonly defined either by the age of the candidate or by the number of years he or she has spent in the host country. For that definition, however, it is not clear if time encompasses the accumulated political experience, the accumulated political experience in a new environment, or the moment in the life cycle in which immigrants left their country of origin.

  • Theory of Political Socialization

Various aspects of the theory of political socialization give rise to different expectations about the adaptability of immigrants to new political situations. However, the plausibility of these various pathways is difficult to determine, since they are seldom examined simultaneously or across multiple dimensions. Empirically different theoretical alternatives are complicated by two factors: first, there is a lack of data on the premigration experiences of immigrants, and second, key indicators such as age and length of residence in old and new countries, and it was interpreted unevenly.

Most analyses of political engagement among immigrant populations rarely focus on differences between different forms of engagement. Usually, they discuss only one mode of interaction or illustrate the parallels in how immigrants respond to different forms of engagement. However, the evidence presented here suggests that whether immigrants transfer prior experience to their new country, learn from exposure to new political environments, or resist engagement in their new setting depends on what form of political engagement is being considered.

This argument is essential to understanding how refugees are being re-socialized in their new host country. Acquiring partisanship often requires cognitive effort. Earlier research described partisanship as a secure, socially formed identity, but the strength of partisanship represents people’s cumulative judgments about the success of the parties over the long run. And, once again, the basis of these judgments comes from long-term experience. Therefore, the evidence shows that access, rather than resistance or transition, is the greatest determinant of political power among immigrants from other countries. Therefore, the evidence shows that access, rather than resistance or transition, is the greatest determinant of political power among immigrants from other countries.

Immigrants from advanced industrial countries are a different matter. When it comes to the acquisition of partisanship, age tends to be a strong indicator of political strength in that group of immigrants. The assumption is that this group is in a state to transfer some of its political happenings from the country of origin to another advanced industrial state. One explanation for resistance and transition between immigrants from advanced industrial countries may be due to their political pre-migration orientations.[9] The possibility is that those who reject the acquisition of strong partisanship by moving to the new host country may have experienced non-partisanship in their countries of origin, whereas those who move their attachments from one sense to another may have been heavy partisans before migration.

Democratic participation is of central importance to democratic resocialization. One clear extension of this line of inquiry is to question if they are the same adaptation dynamics apply to a wider range of domains. Some political attitudes and behaviours that present fewer or more challenges to resocialization than political interest, partisanship, and voter turnout. Years of experience in the country of origin matter, although their direct impact on political engagement is rather modest.

The important conceptual point, however, is that failure to take into account prior experience encourages misleading conclusions about the dynamics of immigration adaptation. For instance, age is positively associated with turnout between the two groups of immigrants when the effect of years before migration is not controlled, a conclusion that is compatible with the transfer hypothesis. Recall that, when pre-migration experiences are kept constant, it turns out, however, that it is not age that matters, but rather exposure to the host country. Similarly, overlooking the pre-migration history of refugees from developed industrial economies effectively hides evidence of changing influences on the strength of political relations. It is only by empirically and conceptually separating between age, years previous to migration, and years in the new host country that these differentiate these results.

IV. Conclusion

When years of experience in the country of origin have only a slight effect on the integration of immigrants, the types of countries from which immigrants come seem to be much less significant in terms of political participation. When it comes to the interest in elections and voting, immigrants from quite diverse political systems seem to be notably alike to their new host political environment.

Politically experienced older immigrants from advanced industrial democracies and other countries are more drawn in, and alert, in their new country than their less experienced equivalents, notwithstanding how much time they spend in their new political setting. However, exposure to the policies of the host country tends to be a requirement for voting between the two classes of immigrants.

Such results lead to wider debates on the adaptability of immigrants in at least two ways. First of all, there is no single path to learning politics; which method is to be used depends on which orientation or action is to be considered. The obstacles posed by some forms of interaction seem to have a systemic effect on how and how immigrants adapt.

If the cognitive and opportunity expenses of commitment are comparatively cheap as they are when it comes to the sheer curiosity in elections, then we should expect evidence to be consistent with the transfer hypothesis. On the other hand, the kind of engagement is relatively complicated, new, or time-consuming, so exposure to the host country’s political system should matter. The findings presented are quite consistent with the findings of research on the development of policy orientations among native-born populations, but they also show that when it comes to resocialization, however, not all the political orientations are a piece of work.[10]

Second, when it comes to political participation in the new host country, early learning may not influence later learning to the degree that classical socialization theory suggests. Unlike other studies of political engagement among immigrants, this study was intentionally aimed at isolating and empirically analyzing how years before migration influence involvement in the new host country. The findings show no evidence that political experience before migration reduces participation in the new host country, irrespective of the country of origin and the length of time of immigrants who have lived in that place before moving.

More complex beliefs and behaviours, we believe, may be more susceptible to resistance, whereas less complex ones may be more susceptible to exposure and transition. This also needs to be known is that the gaps between refugees from developed industrial economies and the rest of the world are even greater when the problems are greater.

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FOOTNOTES

[1] Philip E. Converse, Of Time and Partisan Stability, 2 Comparative Political Studies 139–171 (1969).

[2] Stephen White et al., The Political Resocialization of Immigrants: Resistance or Lifelong Learning? 61 Political Research Quarterly 268–281 (2008).

[3] John R. Arvizu & F. Chris Garcia, Latino Voting Participation: Explaining and Differentiating Latino Voting Turnout:, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences (2016), https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0 7399863960182002 (last visited Jul 11, 2020).

[4] The Theory of Committees and Elections | Duncan Black | Springer, https://www.springer.com/gp/book/97808 98381894 (last visited Jul 12, 2020)

[5] Testing the Converse Partisanship Model with New Electorates – RICHARD G. NIEMI, G. BINGHAM POWELL, HAROLD W. STANLEY, C. LAWRENCE EVANS, 1985, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10. 1177/0010414085018003002 (last visited Jul 11, 2020).

[6] Gary King & Richard Merelman, The Development of Political Activists: A Model of Early Learning, 67 Social Science Quarterly 473–490 (1986).

[7] Donald Green, Bradley Palmquist & Eric Schickler, Partisan Hearts and Minds (2002), www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1npp6m (last visited Jul 11, 2020).

[8] Catherine Simpson Bueker, Political Incorporation Among Immigrants from Ten Areas of Origin: The Persistence of Source Country Effects, 39 International Migration Review 103–140 (2005).

[9] Morris Fiorina, Information and Rationality in Elections (1990).

[10] David O. Sears & Nicholas A. Valentino, Politics Matters: Political Events as Catalysts for Preadult Socialization, 91 The American Political Science Review 45–65 (1997).