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Growing up in Diverse SocietiesThe Integration of the Children of Immigrants in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden$

Frank Kalter, Jan O. Jonsson, Frank van Tubergen, and Anthony Heath

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266373

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266373.001.0001

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date: 27 May 2020

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Chapter:
(p.303) 12 Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations
Source:
Growing up in Diverse Societies
Author(s):

Irena Kogan

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266373.003.0012

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores how sexual liberalisation values differ between young people with an immigrant background and their majority peers in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and England. It focuses in particular on cultural aspects of immigrant integration, including acculturative change associated with immigrant generations, as well as youth’s varying ethno-cultural heritages and religious affiliations. Analyses document the tendency to more-conservative attitudes among minorities with a more traditional background, in terms of both religious affiliation and country of origin. That cultural imprints are resilient towards acculturative tendencies is also sustained by our findings of no significant differences between first- and second-generation immigrants. Consistently across all four CILS4EU countries, the more religious individuals displayed lower levels of sexual liberalism, other things being equal. Parents are proved to be influential in young people’s value formation, with the congruence of values between parents and children being significantly stronger in more-religious families. Finally, the study highlights the assimilative role of interethnic mixing in terms of either intermarriages or young people’s interethnic friendship ties.

Keywords:   values, sexual liberalisation, intergenerational assimilation, cultural differences, intergenerational transmission, Europe, comparative research

12.1 Introduction

THE PUBLIC PERCEIVES TRADITIONALISM, conservatism and lack of tolerance towards liberal values as being characteristic of many Muslim countries as well as of some other authoritarian societies, juxtaposed to post-modern and liberal orientations predominating in the Western world. With numbers of immigrants from distant cultures increasing continuously in recent decades and surging in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, policy-makers and researchers alike raise questions about the European countries’ capacity to manage cultural diversity and accommodate ethnic minorities while simultaneously preserving these countries’ liberal orientation and social cohesion (Norris & Inglehart 2004; 2012).

Since culture is sticky, immigrants, having acquired social norms and cultural codes of behaviour during the years of primary (within the family during their childhood) and secondary (within educational systems and local communities in their home countries) socialisation, carry their cultural baggage with them into the respective new societal contexts of receiving countries (Norris & Inglehart 2012). Yet cultural norms and values are subject to adjustment and, with each subsequent generation, the value orientations of a population with immigrant backgrounds are likely to undergo an acculturative change (Price 1969; Alba & Nee 2003).

This chapter explores how liberal value orientations differ between young people with an immigrant background and their majority peers in Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and England. Notwithstanding multiple sources of influence, above all structural sources such as education or socioeconomic background,1 this study (p.304) focuses in particular on cultural aspects. This includes the acculturative change associated with immigrant generations, as well as differences across origin groups with varying ethno-cultural heritages and religious affiliations, with regard to the adoption of sexual liberalisation values—openness towards premarital cohabitation, abortion and homosexuality. In doing so, our study contributes to the discussion about how far an individual’s ethnic and religious background determines that person’s cultural values, how fluid these are, depending on young people’s (immigrant) generation, and how adaptive these are to the society in which an individual is raised.

Theoretically, the chapter builds on two literatures. The first line of research attempts to explain differences in liberal values across various countries (e.g. Norris & Inglehart 2012). Reference to this literature is relevant to understanding possible cultural and value differences across various immigrant groups residing in European receiving societies. The second strand of literature entails more genuine immigration-related research on acculturation processes and their determinants (e.g. Berry 1997; Gans 1997). Here the focus is on the interplay of various dimensions of integration and on the intergenerational transmission of liberal values. Findings of each strand of research will be reviewed in Section 12.2, which also entails predictions concerning central determinants of attitudes towards sexual liberalisation.

Following the theoretical discussion are empirical analyses of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Survey in Four European Countries (CILS4EU) data, which first provide an overview of sexual liberal values across ethnic groups, immigrant generations and religious denominations in four host countries. Descriptive analyses are further supplemented by the multivariate account of the mentioned sources of influence, net of individual sociodemographic characteristics and the role of significant others. Finally, we call attention to the intergenerational transmission of liberal values in the context of religion. The chapter concludes with a summary and discussion of the main findings.

12.2 Theoretical Framework and Past Research

Based on Hitlin & Piliavin’s (2004) review of the literature and following Marini’s (2000) entry in the Encyclopaedia of Sociology, values can be defined as evaluative beliefs with both affective and cognitive elements that provide people with an orientation in life. Individuals acquire values during the socialisation process, in particular, through exposure to various socialising agents such as parents or religious and educational institutions (van den Akker et al. 2013).

‘Tradition’ is one of 10 distinctive values identified by Schwartz (1992; 1994) and empirically recognised in about 70 cultures across the globe. Our focus on values of sexual traditionalism versus liberalisation in this study is not accidental. In adolescence, young people have their first sexual encounters, (p.305) are engaged in identity―including sexual identity―searching and form opinions about sexuality that are likely to shape their attitudes on a broader set of issues later in life. The sociological correlates of traditional versus liberal values include gender, race and ethnicity, religion and religiosity, education and socio-economic origin and immigrant status (Scheepers et al. 2002; Hitlin & Piliavin 2004; Teney & Subramanian 2010). Without disregarding other important factors shaping individual attitudes and value orientation, in the following we will draw particular attention towards religious affiliation, country of origin and immigrant generation as important determinants of the value orientations among immigrant populations in Western receiving societies. We will subsequently focus on religious affiliation as one of the important mediators in the intergenerational transmission of values.

12.2.1 Religious affiliation

Repeatedly established in the literature is the link between religiosity and restrictive attitudes towards sexual liberalisation values: homosexuality, premarital cohabitation and abortion (see Marsiglio & Shehan 1993; Adamczyk 2013; Lewis & Kashayp 2013 for attitudes towards abortion; Simon 2008; Ahrold & Meston 2010; Fitzgerald et al. 2014; Jäckle & Wenzelburger 2015; Röder 2015; Roggemans et al. 2015; Soehl 2017 for attitudes towards homosexuality; Scheepers et al. 2002 for attitudes towards abortion, premarital and extramarital sex and homosexuality). Opposition among religious individuals is likely due to their strict adherence to religious scriptures, which, irrespective of the faith, largely condemn abortion, reject homosexuality and oppose premarital cohabitation. The schism between traditional and liberal values is more or less at the core of each religion, hence more religious individuals―by virtue of their religious socialisation―irrespective of their faith are more likely to be on the conservative side when it comes to these issues.

Religion provides moral rules and creates group norms, thus substantially influencing personal attitudes (van den Akker et al. 2013). Although all religions highly praise sexual morality, Islam and Hinduism particularly denounce sexual liberalisation (Hennink et al. 1999; Yuchtmann-Yaar & Alkalay 2007; Finke & Adamczyk 2008; Jelen 2014). Their followers are hence more likely to have particularly conservative attitudes towards Western liberal norms of behaviour, when one considers their individual religiosity. Orthodox and Catholic Christians are arguably more likely to express conservative attitudes due to these churches’ unambiguous rejection of abortion, premarital sex or untraditional forms of sexual behaviour, and given the more direct influence of religious authorities on churchgoers’ everyday lives (Scheepers et al. 2002; van den Akker et al. 2013). Empirical findings with regard to the differences among Christians of various Western denominations in their attitudes towards sexual liberalisation in the European context are rather inconclusive (Scott 1998), whereas research on value perceptions among Eastern Orthodox Christians is largely lacking (Turescu & Stan 2005).

(p.306) 12.2.2 Ethno-national origin

State religions usually set a tone in the national discourse concerning what is moral, that is, how far society can go with regard to sexual liberalisation and non-traditional lifestyles. If a country’s religious context particularly disapproves of sexual liberalism, its public discourse, legal codes and social norms will heavily reflect this (Adamczyk & Pitt 2009). Close links between state and religion in some countries―an obvious example is the Sharia law practised in a number of Muslim countries―often inhibit disentanglement of religious influences from more general cultural norms and traditions. The degree of secularisation in a society might hence be held responsible for susceptibility towards sexual liberalism among immigrants from respective sending countries.2

Apart from religious influences, national doctrines, particularly countries’ long-standing exposure to liberal democracy and pluralism,3 all favourable towards the instilment of liberal values through educational systems, mass media and public opinion, also affect norms and values. Developing this argument, Scheepers et al. (2002) suggest that countries with a longer tradition of state socialism and authoritarianism might be less open towards pluralism (also) with regard to alternative lifestyles and sexual liberalisation, which can in turn be responsible for their emigrants’ more traditional values despite the apparent secular orientation of these societies.

Both references to the sending countries’ levels of secularisation and pluralism imply that, controlling for individual religious denomination and religiosity, an immigrant origin is likely to exert an independent effect on individual attitudes towards sexual liberalisation due to a generally more pronounced context of intolerance towards liberal values in the countries in which immigrants were socialised. Hence, following the secularisation argument, we are likely to observe, for example, higher levels of intolerance towards sexual liberalisation among minorities from Middle Eastern and South Asian countries. Based on the hypothesis that such countries’ lack exposure to pluralism, we are likely to encounter lower values of sexual liberalisation also among immigrants stemming from Eastern European and East Asian countries.

Differences across receiving societies’ majority populations, albeit not the main focus of the current study, are also likely to be present and can likewise be attributed to these countries’ varying degrees of secularisation and history of pluralism. In our four-country comparison, Sweden and the Netherlands should stand out as the countries that are the most accepting, and Germany as the country that is the least accepting with regard to sexual liberalisation. England is likely to be in-between.

(p.307) 12.2.3 Immigrant generations

The bulk of immigrants to Western Europe, having for a large part of their lives been socialised in less secular (van Tubergen & Sindradottir 2011) and less pluralistic (see Freedom House data at https://freedomhouse.org) societies, bring with them their more conservative attitudes and values. Assimilation theory would predict that over generations, in a given host country, descendants of immigrants should become more similar to the majority population with regard to their behaviour (e.g. partnership and fertility patterns) and attitudes (including gender roles and liberal values) (Park 1950; Gordon 1964; Price 1969; Alba & Nee 1997). A full emotional and cultural assimilation is hardly likely among those who emigrated themselves―particularly when migration occurred during adulthood―due to their predominant socialisation in a different cultural context. Children of immigrants are more likely to bear imprints of both cultures—that of their host country, the country in which they were born and in whose institutions they are socialised, and that of the country of their parents’ descent, which they encounter in the early formative years through their familial socialisation (Phinney et al. 2000; Röder 2015).

Since parents are likely to transmit their values to their children, some immigrant offspring are likely to experience cultural dissonance, particularly if their country of birth and the country of their parents’ descent have conflicting sets of values (Price 1969). Children of parents with mixed-generation status, that is, one parent was born in the host country whereas the other was born abroad, now a widespread phenomenon in the European context due to transnational marriage migration, might be confronted with a situation similar to that of the second generation. On the one hand, one of their parents was raised in the host country and is familiar with its institutions and values. On the other hand, the other parent brings in traditions and the culture of the country of ancestry. Depending on the circumstances of a transnational marriage, the set of values instilled in the offspring generation might vary from rather conservative (if the host-country-born parent adhered to the transnational marriage in search of a particularly traditional partner and with the aim of maintaining religious vitality) to particularly broad-minded (if through marriage to a transnationally selected partner the host-country-born parent sought to break away from the traditionalism and conservatism practised in the family of origin) (Lievens 1999; Reniers 2001; Çelikaksoy et al. 2006; Phalet et al. 2008).

Children of mixed parentage in terms of ethnic origin (normally, these are young people with one parent belonging to the majority ethnic group and the other to a minority ethnic group) might also face conflicting sets of values, but this is less likely due to the selective nature of intermarriages. If marriage partners are able to accommodate their possibly conflicting worldviews and become parents, their children are also likely to adopt more pluralistic attitudes (Röder 2015).

(p.308) 12.2.4 Intergenerational value transmission in the context of religion

While maintenance of the culture of origin is not per se incompatible with more modern variants of assimilation theory (see the mode of multiple integration in Berry 1997 and Esser 1999), the theory of segmented assimilation explicitly foresees maintenance of one’s cultural heritage as one of the processes occurring in parallel with a successful structural integration into the educational system or the labour market, at least for certain subgroups of immigrant children (Portes & Zhou 1993; Bankston & Zhou 1995; Zhou 1997; Portes & Rumbaut 2001). This integration path is named ‘selective acculturation’ and is, according to American research, a key element behind the success story of Asian immigrants in the USA, who often outperform their white native counterparts in the educational system but remain largely immune to Western liberalism.

The value transmission approach digs deeper into the mechanisms behind the perseverance of values in some ethnic and religious groups. It maintains that people with more exposure to the norms and values of socialising agents (e.g. parents) are more likely to conform to these norms (van den Akker et al. 2013). It attributes the congruence between parental and adolescents’ values at least partially to stronger efforts on the part of parents―particularly those who are not entirely assimilated, either socioeconomically or culturally―to maintain their customs and traditions and shelter their offspring from exposure to Western liberalism on their way to adulthood (Nauck 1989; 2007; Phalet & Schönpflug 2001; Vollebergh et al. 2001; Idema & Phalet 2007). Scheepers et al. (2002) argue that parental moral values, which are transmitted to children, are likely to correspond to the conservative views of their religious community if these parents attach particular importance to religion. Therefore, we would expect stronger intergenerational reproduction of values in more religious families. Further, in order to countervail host-country mainstream influences, parents belonging to religious groups that are in the minority in the receiving societies might try particularly hard to safeguard their family values (de Hoon & van Tubergen 2014). We expect that in the selection of host countries studied, this would occur among followers of non-Christian denominations.

12.3 Analyses

12.3.1 Comparing values of sexual liberalism across countries and groups

As the literature overview suggests, earlier research has operationalised sexual liberalism in various ways, focusing at large on abortion, premarital and extramarital sexual relations and homosexuality. In the current study, we capture the value orientation towards sexuality in a similar way, making use of indicators of appropriateness of various forms of behaviour found in the CILS4EU data. (p.309) Young respondents were asked whether living together as a couple without being married is always, often, sometimes or never OK. Similar questions were formulated for abortion and homosexuality.4 Based on the three questions, an average score was created, ranging from 1 to 4, where larger values pertain to higher levels of sexual liberalisation.5 A close look at the constitutive elements of the mean score reveals that, overall, youngsters in the four countries most strongly oppose abortion, whereas they least oppose premarital cohabitation. Attitudes towards homosexuality lay roughly in-between and correspond quite closely to the mean score value.

In accordance with the theoretical framework, we focus on several major correlates of attitudes towards sexual liberalisation. Ethno-national heritage is represented by a set of variables capturing broad geographical regions with distinct patterns of secularisation and pluralisation. Following the broad classifications outlined in Chapter 3 (Table 3.2), we first distinguish immigrants arriving from Northern, Western and Southern Europe—countries with a longer tradition of sexual liberalisation. Eastern European countries represent a distinct category, as these countries share a common past characterised by a considerable spell of authoritarian rule that is likely to leave long-lasting imprints on the worldviews of parents of the CILS4EU respondents.6 Countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well as those in the Caribbean each constitute distinct groups. Another category― MENA+ countries―comprises states in the Middle East and Northern Africa, as well as Muslim countries in South Asia (Pakistan, Afghanistan etc.). Other Asian countries constitute another country group. Regions not classified in any of the mentioned groups constitute a residual group of ‘other countries’ here. These are largely countries in the Americas and Oceania. Since there are hardly any immigrants from Caribbean countries in Germany and Sweden, for these countries the few individuals who do stem from Caribbean countries are assigned to the ‘other countries’ group. The survey-country majority population serves as a reference category in our analyses.

Figure 12.1 compares levels of sexual liberalisation across the ethnic groups and the analysed destination countries. The mean value for the reference group in each survey country appears in brackets following the country name. Our results confirm expectations that the most liberal climate exists in Sweden, a country with the highest score of sexual liberalism in our sample. Germany, (p.310)

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Figure 12.1 Liberal values by origin group, by survey country

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering.

(p.311) on the other hand, is the least liberal in terms of acceptance of homosexuality, abortion and premarital cohabitation, whereas England and the Netherlands fall in-between, with the Dutch being somewhat more liberal on average.

The graphs visualise how much, on average, the value perceptions of various groups deviate from those of the native-born majority population. We plot standard errors of the estimates to draw a line representing the 95% confidence interval around the point estimate (represented by a square).7 Overall, it is noticeable that the youth originating in European (apart from Eastern Europe), American or Oceanian countries appear to be no different from the majority youth in each of the countries with regard to value perceptions. Only in Germany are youth of Northern, Western and Southern European origin somewhat less liberal than majority youth. At the other end of the tolerance spectrum are children of immigrants from the Middle East, Northern Africa and Muslim countries of South Asia, who are considerably more conservative in all four destination countries. Those of Asian heritage are also among groups that are significantly more conservative than the majority population. Children of immigrants from Caribbean countries are considerably less tolerant of homosexuality, cohabitation and abortion in England and the Netherlands, the two countries which observe these as separate groups. Eastern Europeans appear to be rather conservative in England, Germany and Sweden, but not in the Netherlands. Adolescents of sub-Saharan African origin are on the conservative side in England, the Netherlands and Sweden, but not in Germany. Overall, and apart from some exceptions, we encounter a rather consistent picture of sexual liberalism across all four countries, with youngsters of Western origin being most tolerant and those originating from MENA+ countries the most conservative.

Whether the assimilation process is related to the generational status, as expected following the considerations in Section 12.2.3, is explored in Figure 12.2, which presents the variation in sexual liberalisation values across generational status and destination countries. We differentiate roughly between individuals who were born abroad (first generation), those who were born in the host country to two immigrant parents (second generation) and those born in the host country with one parent also born there and the other born abroad (compare to Table 3.1 in Chapter 3). The latter encompass children of transnational marriages and of intermarriages. Individuals with no strong migration background are the reference group. Again, values for these reference groups appear in brackets next to the country names. A consistent pattern across all four survey countries is that children of immigrants appear to be more conservative than young people who emigrated themselves. This challenges the classical assimilation theory, though confidence intervals overlap in all countries.8 At (p.312)

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Figure 12.2 Liberal values by generational status, by survey country

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering.

(p.313) the other end of the tolerance spectrum, we find children born to families in which one of the parents belongs to the majority population and the other is an immigrant. These young people display levels of sexual liberalism similar to those of the majority youth. Children born to transnational migrant families are more intolerant than the native-born majority youths in all countries except the Netherlands. Nevertheless, they are obviously more liberal than are the first and second generation.

To what extent religious affiliation accounts for variation in sexual liberalism is explored in Figure 12.3, which plots the extent to which various religious groups differ in their sexual liberalism from individuals with no religion across the analysed countries. Religious background is captured by variables pertaining to three denominations of Christianity: Catholicism, Protestantism and other Christian confessions (largely Orthodox), to Islam and to other religions. Individuals who stated no affiliation with any religion serve as a reference category in our analyses. One finding appears uniform for all four survey countries: individuals who practise Islam are the least tolerant of sexual liberalisation. At the other end of the liberalism scale, we find Protestants in England, Germany and Sweden, Catholics in the Netherlands and England and youth identifying themselves with other Christian denominations in Sweden. All these groups are no different from the reference group of young people who do not practise any religion.

In summary, descriptively we find cross-country differences in the value perceptions existing across majority youth, as well as a tendency towards more conservative attitudes among minorities with a more traditional background, in terms of both religious affiliation and country of origin. We did not detect the expected patterns towards converging values with each subsequent generation. This is perhaps attributable to the fact that compositional differences existing among youngsters belonging to various generations―and the history of migration to Europe has witnessed large differences across consecutive migration waves― are not taken into account in this descriptive overview; rather this will be the task of the multivariate analyses.

12.3.2 Determinants of attitudes towards sexual liberalisation

Building upon these bivariate descriptive insights, we will now examine the patterns of liberal values within a multivariate framework, using regression models. The modelling (see Tables A12.1 to A12.4 in the Appendix) is organised in the following way: for each country, the first model (Model 1) looks at the origin group effects, controlling only for respondents’ basic demographic characteristics: sex and age. In the second step (Model 2), we also control for generational status, whereas in the third model (Model 3) we include the religious affiliation and religiosity of the respondents. Religiosity is measured by the question ‘how important is religion to you’, with four answer (p.314)

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Figure 12.3 Liberal values by religious affiliation, by survey country

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering.

(p.315) categories ranging from 1 (religion is not at all important) to 4 (religion is very important).9

The results of Models 1 and 3 are visualised in Figure 12.4. Like the previous figures, it shows how greatly young people belonging to various origin groups differ from the line of reference (majority group); the values indicated by the squares largely correspond to those found in Figure 12.1, it is just that here they also take into account young people’s age and sex. In all host countries, children of immigrants from MENA+ countries express the strongest rejection of sexual liberalisation values even after controlling for demographic characteristics. Religion, religiosity and generational status explain a large part of the MENA+ country effect. The reduction of the origin effect is by far the strongest for this group in comparison with all other origin groups, which also holds for all four survey countries. A similar pattern of rather considerable, albeit weaker, reduction in the origin effect is also observable in young people with roots in sub-Saharan Africa in all countries but Germany, where sub-Saharans do not differ from the majority youngsters in their sexual liberalism values. For the rest of the groups we detected no strong reduction in the origin effect when including generational status and religion/religiosity or rather mixed patterns. Here, the independent variables seem to explain a small part of the origin effect only in England and Sweden, but not in Germany and the Netherlands. For some groups, inclusion of generational and religious status even increases the origin effect; this is particularly noticeable for young people originating in Western countries.

Origin effects and demographic differences taken into account, there appear to be few differences between first- and second-generation immigrants regarding attitudes towards cohabitation, homosexuality and abortion (see Model 2 in Tables A12.1–A12.4 in the Appendix). Children of intermarried couples seem to be significantly more tolerant than the rest, including the native-born majority youth in all host countries. This accords with our argument regarding the broad-mindedness of children born and raised in inter-ethnic families. In Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, young people born to transnational families also display higher values of sexual liberalisation, other characteristics taken into account, a somewhat unexpected finding.

With regard to religion and religiosity, the picture is also quite clear-cut. Religiosity is a strong predictor of attitudes towards sexual liberalisation across all countries analysed here, and the magnitudes of the effect are largely comparable across all countries (see Model 3 in Tables A12.1–A12.4 in the Appendix). In England and Germany, Muslims appear to be less tolerant of sexual liberalisation, even after controlling for individual religiosity, which is in sharp contrast to the situation in Sweden, where Muslim youth display levels of sexual liberalism (p.316)

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Figure 12.4 Role of origin group and religious affiliation for liberal values, by survey country

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering.

(p.317) similar to those of the majority population. In the Netherlands, the Muslim effect is rather large but does not reach statistical significance. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, Catholics seem to be less intolerant than youngsters with no religious affiliation. In Sweden, the least intolerant group are Protestants. In England, representatives of other religions seem to be less intolerant, religiosity taken into account.

Looking at the sociodemographic controls, our results further indicate that in all countries girls are substantially more tolerant of cohabitation, homosexuality and abortion than boys, which is a well-established finding in the literature. Age does not seem to play any role, due perhaps to a rather minor age variance in the analysed sample.

In a final regression model (Model 4 in Tables A12.1 to A12.4 in the Appendix), we additionally account for possible parental and peer influences. Among the parental influences are families’ socioeconomic characteristics, reflecting the structural conditions in which adolescents grow up. These include parental highest level of education, differentiating between less than primary education (reference category), primary education, (upper) secondary education and tertiary education, as well as parental occupational status captured by the highest International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI) score of both parents. Parental education and occupational status reflect not only the economic conditions of the families in which the adolescents originate, but can also function as proxies for the cultural environment in which they grow up. Youngsters stemming from highly educated families are more likely to absorb values of tolerance and a pluralistic view of the world than those who grow up in families with more limited cultural resources. The values of parental education and occupation come from the children’s questionnaire; in case of missing information, we rely on parental records.

Parents are not a single, albeit a durable, source of influence in adolescence. With increasing age, young people are increasingly influenced by their peers. Without resolving the issue of causality―whether youngsters who entertain friendships with more liberal people are likely to adopt similar values, or whether adolescents select their friends based on similar moral principles or whether, as it often happens, we are dealing with a mutual dependency―we expect those immigrant adolescents who befriend native-born youngsters to be, on average, more open to Western liberal values than those whose friendships are within their own ethnic groups. To explore this association, we control for the proportion of majority friends among the five best friends of each respondent.

Results presented in Model 4 in Tables A12.1 to A12.4 in the Appendix show that parental socioeconomic status (SES) influences adolescents’ attitudes towards sexual liberalisation, but of the two variables included in the analyses—parental education and occupational status—only the latter is statistically significant. In all countries, children raised in families with occupationally better-situated parents are more likely to express liberalised attitudes. Having friends within the majority population is associated with having significantly more tolerant attitudes towards (p.318) cohabitation, homosexuality and abortion only in England, whereas in Germany and the Netherlands this variable is not statistically significant albeit operating in an expected direction. Only in Sweden does the proportion of native-born friends not seem to be meaningfully associated with sexual value orientations once other covariates are included in the model.

12.3.3 Intergenerational transmission of values

The analyses in Section 12.3.2 have convincingly demonstrated that parents play a considerable part in shaping young people’s value orientations by providing a socioeconomic basis and a cultural frame in which youngsters develop their attitudes and lifestyles. Unsurprisingly, parental higher status is associated with offspring attitudes that are more liberal towards abortion, premarital cohabitation and homosexuality. Value transmission also occurs more directly through parent–child communication and upbringing, as well as through attendance at common socialising places (e.g. places of worship). Our data, whose distinctive feature is the availability of information on value perceptions not only among young people but also among their parents, allow us to directly test the congruence between adolescents’ and parents’ sexual value orientations. Are parents with stronger sexual morality able to shelter their children from more liberal views on sexuality? What role does religious affiliation play in this respect?

In the final step of the analyses, we explore patterns of intergenerational value transmission, relying on the sample for which valid information from the parent questionnaire is available. For the sake of brevity, these analyses are carried out jointly for all four countries, since patterns reported here for a joint sample of countries largely hold for each of the analysed countries as well. We start by mimicking the last model of the preceding analyses, but for the joint sample of countries (see Model A in Table 12.1), and only for those students for whom a parental interview is available (n = 9,057). The results largely repeat the already established major findings of a more pronounced rejection of sexual liberalisation among Muslims and more religious individuals, males and youngsters from less-well-to-do families. In the following, we therefore do not discuss all results, but rather a selection with particular relevance to value transmission processes.

Thus, parental values are added in Model B with the aim of examining whether these play a part in the formation of adolescents’ values, which they do. Parents’ stronger opposition to sexual liberalisation is associated with more pronounced rejection of cohabitation, homosexuality and abortion in the offspring generation as well, which accords with the socialisation hypothesis.

In Section 12.2.4, we discussed the idea that the strength of this transmission effect is likely to depend on the religious context. Therefore, a further Model C explores the correspondence between parental and adolescents’ values in less and more religious family settings. More precisely, it includes an interaction (p.319)

Table 12.1. Liberal sexual values and the role of transmission within families, selected results

Model A

Model B

Model C

Survey country (ref: Germany)

England

0.150***

0.159***

0.164***

(0.045)

(0.041)

(0.041)

Netherlands

0.172***

0.113**

0.123**

(0.045)

(0.040)

(0.040)

Sweden

0.544***

0.359***

0.393***

(0.044)

(0.045)

(0.044)

Origin groups (ref: majority)

North, West, South European

−0.153*

−0.062

−0.042

(0.061)

(0.059)

(0.060)

Eastern European

−0.275***

−0.118*

−0.114*

(0.055)

(0.050)

(0.050)

Caribbean

−0.323*

−0.239

−0.211

(0.137)

(0.140)

(0.138)

Middle East & North Africa

−0.556***

−0.326***

−0.268***

(0.086)

(0.073)

(0.071)

Sub-Saharan African

−0.013

0.169

0.230

(0.118)

(0.120)

(0.127)

Asian

−0.419***

−0.198*

−0.187*

(0.085)

(0.079)

(0.082)

Other

−0.074

0.008

0.022

(0.104)

(0.094)

(0.093)

Generational status (ref: 2nd gen)

Born abroad

−0.049

−0.057

−0.058

(0.065)

(0.061)

(0.060)

Child of transnational marriage

0.104

0.042

0.030

(0.080)

(0.074)

(0.073)

Child of intermarriage

0.175**

0.069

0.047

(0.057)

(0.055)

(0.055)

Proportion of majority friends

0.108**

0.100**

0.084*

(0.041)

(0.038)

(0.039)

Religiosity

−0.158***

−0.114***

−0.352***

(0.017)

(0.015)

(0.046)

Parental values

0.274***

0.158***

(0.023)

(0.029)

(p.320) Parental values* Religiosity

0.087***

(0.014)

Intercept

2.556***

1.783***

2.104***

(0.314)

(0.325)

(0.331)

No. of obs.

9,057

9,057

9,057

R2

0.309

0.358

0.365

Note: The models also include sex, age, religious affiliation and parental education as independent variables; estimation is design weighted, accounting for clustering. Standard errors in parentheses;

(*) p < 0.05,

(**) p < 0.01,

(***) p < 0.001.

term between parental value orientation and religiosity among youngsters.10 Our results confirm that the effect of parental values is conditional on adolescents’ religiosity. The more religious youngsters are, the more strongly they absorb their parents’ values. The interaction effect is visualised in Figure 12.5 by a steeper slope for parental values of sexual liberalisation among more religious adolescents.

The analyses prove that intergenerational transmission is indeed a major mechanism behind the ethnic value differences among the youth in Europe. After all relevant correlates of individual sexual liberalism are included in the model, the origin effects are substantially reduced and remain noticeable only for children of immigrants originating in MENA+ countries as well as in Asian and Eastern European countries, which largely accords with our expectations. Differences across host countries also withstood all controls of possible compositional differences. Sweden appears to be the most tolerant and Germany the least tolerant country in the analysed sample of four European countries. Findings on both the origin and destination effects largely support the hypothesis about cultural and historical differences across the countries related to secularism and pluralism.

Two additional results from Table 12.1 warrant special attention. While the first relates directly to intergenerational transmission of values, the second one touches upon the value transmission process in general. The first important finding is that after including the variable pertaining to parental values (in Model B) the positive effect of being born to intermarried parents (from Model A) disappears. This is a sign that strong liberal orientations are cultivated in families with a multi-ethnic heritage. Secondly, in our country-specific analyses, some ambiguity exists with (p.321)

Ethnic Minority Youth at the Crossroads: Between Traditionalism and Liberal Value Orientations

Figure 12.5 Youth liberal values at different levels of religiosity by parental liberal values

regard to the role of majority peers in the adoption of liberal values. Our results for the joint sample of countries confirm a positive association between having a larger share of majority friends and sexual values that are more liberal, as one would also expect theoretically. Both findings are indicative of strong liberalising forces associated with inter-ethnic mixing and intense social interactions between ethnic minorities and the majority population, either within families or through friendship ties.

12.4 Summary and Concluding Remarks

In light of the continuing debates about the challenges of cultural integration among immigrants and their descendants, this chapter explores how sexual liberalism values differ across young people of various ethno-national origins, religions and immigrant generations in England, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. In doing so, it contributes both to the scientific debate about intergenerational processes of value formation and transmission as well as to the literature explaining the variation in values across the globe. The findings are indicative of enduring differences across the ethno-national groups and the native-born majority populations in all four receiving societies that cannot be explained away by youngsters’ demographic characteristics, immigrant generation, religious affiliation or the social influences of significant others (such as parents and peers). Fairly consistent across all four countries is that descendants (p.322) of immigrants from the Middle East, Northern Africa and South-East Asia are substantially more conservative when it comes to their attitudes towards abortion, premarital cohabitation and homosexuality than the majority population. Low values of sexual liberalism are also attested—albeit with some variation across the board—to other Asian migrants, as well as to youngsters of Eastern European origin. Hence, our results are largely supportive of the hypothetical role the host countries’ extent of secularisation and pluralism plays in shaping emigrant populations’ value orientations.

That such cultural imprints are resilient towards acculturative tendencies is also sustained by our findings of no significant differences between first- and second-generation youth in values of sexual liberalism. We also showed that children of intermarried parents are particularly liberal in their values, as expected based on the selectivity and socialisation arguments. The finding about more pronounced sexual liberalisation among young people born to families with at least one transnational parent in all countries except England, other characteristics accounted for, came as somewhat of a surprise. A large discrepancy between the descriptive results suggesting lower levels of sexual liberalism among offspring of transnational families and the multivariate results is clearly indicative of a strong selectivity shown by the bulk of transnational families in terms of conservative sociocultural backgrounds.

Our study further confirms the powerful roles religion and religiosity play in shaping sexual liberalisation values among the European youth. Consistently across all four CILS4EU countries, the more religious individuals displayed lower levels of sexual liberalism, other things being equal. Whereas descriptively Muslims proved to be on the conservative side of sexual liberalism, multivariate analyses displayed a more fine-grained picture. Muslim conservatism in Sweden, and to some degree in the Netherlands, has been explained by the young people’s ethno-national and sociodemographic characteristics as well as by their religiosity, whereas in England and Germany Muslim students proved to be significantly more conservative, even after taking into account all the mentioned factors.

Parents are assumed to influence young people’s value formation, and this is supported by our findings. Whereas no differences across various religious denominations in the strength of association between parental and youth values could be reported, the congruence of values between parents and children proved to be significantly stronger in more religious families. This accords with the socialisation hypothesis claiming that in religious settings parents are more likely to raise their children in accordance with more conservative values, shielding them particularly strongly from Western liberal orientations.

Alongside obvious similarities in the patterns of sexual liberalism among young people with a migration background, our study revealed substantial differences across young people without a migration background in the four receiving societies. Whereas the Swedish majority youth, as expected, proved to be the most liberal and the German the most conservative, we found the (p.323) Dutch and the English to be quite alike with regard to their sexual liberalism and somewhere between the two poles. Overall, our results once again confirm that the value change is a slow process, over time and generations, and that cultural differences are thus likely to persist further.

What can speed up the process of value alignment in Europe’s culturally diverse population? One of our findings suggests that inter-ethnic mixing, in terms of either intermarriages (as shown in the study with regard to the more liberal values of children of intermarried parents) or young people’s inter-ethnic friendship ties (as indicated by a positive effect of the proportion of friends from the majority ethnic group on sexual liberalism), helps to accelerate value convergence. Apparently, closer contacts between young people with and without a migration background bring both groups much closer together, not only structurally (as shown in other chapters of this book) but also in terms of values.

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Table A12.1. Multivariate analysis (OLS regression) of liberal values: England

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Origin groups (ref: majority)

   North, West, South Europe

−0.085

−0.375**

−0.166

−0.062

(0.100)

(0.132)

(0.114)

(0.117)

   Eastern Europe

−0.603***

−0.766***

−0.526***

−0.423***

(0.077)

(0.107)

(0.101)

(0.107)

   Caribbean

−0.514***

−0.752***

−0.494***

−0.310**

(0.092)

(0.097)

(0.093)

(0.104)

   Middle East & North Africa

−0.957***

−1.101***

−0.400***

−0.260*

(0.085)

(0.079)

(0.119)

(0.123)

   Sub-Saharan Africa

−0.620***

−0.782***

−0.391***

−0.290*

(0.105)

(0.098)

(0.098)

(0.112)

   Asia

−0.556***

−0.678***

−0.480***

−0.277*

(0.084)

(0.106)

(0.119)

(0.123)

   Other

0.158

−0.108

0.130

0.172

(0.106)

(0.112)

(0.098)

(0.094)

Generational status (ref: 2nd gen.)

   Born abroad (1st gen.)

0.111

−0.022

0.010

(0.079)

(0.081)

(0.085)

   Child of transnational marriage

0.133

0.039

−0.021

(0.071)

(0.062)

(0.062)

   Child of intermarriage

0.504***

0.266***

0.142

(0.089)

(0.075)

(0.090)

Female (ref: male)

0.274***

0.268***

0.294***

0.297***

(0.034)

(0.034)

(0.036)

(0.033)

Age (in years)

−0.006

−0.001

−0.010

0.007

(0.033)

(0.032)

(0.031)

(0.029)

Religious affiliation (ref: no)

   Catholic

0.087

0.078

(0.183)

(0.185)

   Protestant

−0.180

−0.216

(0.105)

(0.120)

   Other Christian

−0.009

−0.052

(0.046)

(0.044)

   Muslim

−0.462***

−0.417***

(0.110)

(p.327) (0.119)

   Other

0.266*

0.225*

(0.119)

(0.107)

Religiosity

−0.155***

−0.156***

(0.026)

(0.025)

Parental education (ref: less than primary)

   Primary

0.087

(0.107)

   Secondary

0.166

(0.103)

   University

0.209

(0.108)

   Unknown

−0.143

(0.131)

Parental occupational status (ISEI)

0.313***

(0.078)

Proportion of majority friends

0.265***

(0.066)

Intercept

2.849***

2.780***

3.042***

2.267***

(0.490)

(0.476)

(0.455)

(0.438)

No. of obs.

3,730

3,730

3,730

3,387

R2

0.158

0.171

0.230

0.255

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering; standard errors in parentheses;

(*) p < 0.05,

(**) p < 0.01,

(***) p < 0.001. OLS = ordinary least squares.

Table A12.2. Multivariate analysis (OLS regression) of liberal values: Germany

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Origin groups (ref: majority)

   North, West, South Europe

−0.212**

−0.490***

−0.323***

−0.208*

(0.071)

(0.090)

(0.079)

(0.085)

   Eastern Europe

−0.448***

−0.571***

−0.433***

−0.340***

(0.048)

(0.058)

(0.055)

(0.056)

   Middle East & North Africa

−1.008***

−1.103***

−0.637***

−0.494***

(0.061)

(0.060)

(0.079)

(0.088)

   Sub-Saharan Africa

−0.092

−0.274

0.010

0.167

(0.141)

(0.142)

(0.153)

(0.154)

   Asia

−0.534***

−0.720***

−0.693***

−0.630***

(0.122)

(0.138)

(0.143)

(0.147)

   Other

0.126

−0.231

−0.096

−0.043

(0.168)

(0.176)

(0.168)

(0.155)

Generational status (ref: 2nd gen.)

   Born abroad (1st gen.)

0.078

0.024

0.018

(0.094)

(0.078)

(p.328) (0.083)

   Child of transnational marriage

0.261*

0.191*

0.150

(0.112)

(0.095)

(0.083)

   Child of intermarriage

0.476***

0.323***

0.226**

(0.082)

(0.072)

(0.073)

Female (ref: male)

0.332***

0.330***

0.374***

0.366***

(0.031)

(0.031)

(0.029)

(0.030)

Age (in years)

−0.052*

−0.044

−0.055*

−0.030

(0.024)

(0.025)

(0.025)

(0.025)

Religious affiliation (ref: no)

   Catholic

−0.067

−0.057

(0.058)

(0.055)

   Protestant

−0.034

−0.056

(0.062)

(0.057)

   Other Christian

−0.141

−0.113

(0.186)

(0.176)

   Muslim

−0.346***

−0.295***

(0.081)

(0.080)

   Other

0.164

0.184

(0.125)

(0.116)

Religiosity

−0.159***

−0.163***

(0.025)

(0.025)

Parental education (ref: less than primary)

   Primary

0.001

(0.103)

   Secondary

0.062

(0.091)

   University

0.135

(0.095)

   Unknown

0.022

(0.214)

Parental occupational status (ISEI)

0.598***

(0.092)

Proportion of majority friends

0.115

(0.059)

Intercept

3.360***

3.247***

3.601***

2.762***

(0.358)

(0.362)

(0.367)

(0.421)

No. of obs.

4,686

4,686

4,686

4,402

R2

0.220

0.234

0.279

0.308

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering; standard errors in parentheses;

(*) p < 0.05,

(**) p < 0.01,

(***) p < 0.001.

(p.329)

Table A12.3. Multivariate analysis (OLS regression) of liberal values: Netherlands

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Origin groups (ref: majority)

   North, West, South Europe

−0.162

−0.560***

−0.381**

−0.322*

(0.086)

(0.109)

(0.126)

(0.133)

   Eastern Europe

−0.175

−0.382*

−0.201

−0.119

(0.222)

(0.166)

(0.199)

(0.218)

   Caribbean

−0.319**

−0.616***

−0.364**

−0.294*

(0.105)

(0.129)

(0.132)

(0.136)

   Middle East & North Africa

−1.186***

−1.309***

−0.687**

−0.651*

(0.092)

(0.083)

(0.215)

(0.254)

   Sub-Saharan Africa

−0.792**

−1.016***

−0.596**

−0.353

(0.241)

(0.216)

(0.209)

(0.230)

   Asia

−0.239**

−0.564***

−0.366***

−0.325**

(0.089)

(0.102)

(0.101)

(0.120)

   Other

−0.026

−0.417

−0.179

−0.114

(0.174)

(0.225)

(0.226)

(0.220)

Generational status (ref: 2nd gen.)

   Born abroad (1st gen.)

0.136

0.050

0.048

(0.102)

(0.084)

(0.100)

   Child of transnational marriage

0.510***

0.329*

0.238

(0.153)

(0.144)

(0.159)

   Child of intermarriage

0.482***

0.290***

0.239**

(0.083)

(0.082)

(0.090)

Female (ref: male)

0.278***

0.278***

0.301***

0.309***

(0.040)

(0.038)

(0.027)

(0.026)

Age (in years)

−0.024

−0.026

−0.044

−0.028

(0.034)

(0.035)

(0.031)

(0.033)

Religious affiliation (ref: no)

   Catholic

0.141**

0.167**

(0.054)

(0.050)

   Protestant

−0.144

−0.132

(0.093)

(0.094)

   Other Christian

−0.157

−0.107

(0.122)

(0.133)

   Muslim

−0.405

−0.310

(0.221)

(0.239)

   Other

−0.076

−0.123

(0.203)

(0.181)

Religiosity

−0.138***

−0.145***

(0.034)

(0.037)

Parental education (ref: less than primary)

Primary

−0.250

(p.330) (0.221)

   Secondary

−0.190

(0.216)

   University

−0.234

(0.230)

   Unknown

−0.228

(0.229)

Parental occupational status (ISEI)

0.339*

(0.147)

Proportion of majority friends

0.103

(0.082)

Intercept

3.183***

3.205***

3.555***

3.243***

(0.480)

(0.504)

(0.440)

(0.494)

No. of obs.

4,159

4,159

4,159

3,862

R2

0.185

0.197

0.239

0.231

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering; standard errors in parentheses;

(*) p < 0.05,

(**) p < 0.01,

(***) p < 0.001.

Table A12.4. Multivariate analysis (OLS regression) of liberal values: Sweden

Model 1

Model 2

Model 3

Model 4

Origin groups (ref: majority)

   North, West, South Europe

−0.075

−0.322***

−0.192**

−0.184*

(0.049)

(0.077)

(0.071)

(0.075)

   Eastern Europe

−0.429***

−0.517***

−0.278***

−0.230***

(0.047)

(0.058)

(0.059)

(0.068)

   Middle East & North Africa

−0.802***

−0.841***

−0.501***

−0.461***

(0.061)

(0.064)

(0.076)

(0.084)

   Sub-Saharan Africa

−0.761***

−0.835***

−0.493***

−0.458***

(0.125)

(0.116)

(0.114)

(0.130)

   Asia

−0.208**

−0.343***

−0.200*

−0.168

(0.079)

(0.090)

(0.094)

(0.099)

   Other

−0.088

−0.298***

−0.151

−0.161

(0.064)

(0.086)

(0.081)

(0.087)

Generational status (ref: 2nd gen.)

   Born abroad (1st gen.)

−0.011

−0.040

−0.040

(0.069)

(0.064)

(0.069)

   Child of transnational marriage

0.211*

0.159

0.159

(0.105)

(0.098)

(0.107)

   Child of intermarriage

0.393***

0.261***

0.222**

(0.075)

(0.074)

(0.077)

Female (ref: male)

0.337***

0.342***

0.359***

0.365***

(0.026)

(0.026)

(0.025)

(0.025)

Age (in years)

−0.060*

−0.051

−0.044

−0.035

(0.030)

(0.029)

(0.029)

(0.029)

(p.331) Religious affiliation (ref: no)

   Catholic

−0.293

−0.354

(0.165)

(0.182)

   Protestant

0.424*

0.404*

(0.187)

(0.182)

   Other Christian

0.065*

0.041

(0.031)

(0.031)

   Muslim

−0.096

−0.123

(0.066)

(0.068)

   Other

0.013

0.059

(0.107)

(0.111)

Religiosity

−0.163***

−0.152***

(0.017)

(0.018)

Parental education (ref: less than primary)

   Primary

−0.024

(0.215)

   Secondary

0.005

(0.213)

   University

0.030

(0.210)

   Unknown

−0.079

(0.228)

Parental occupational status (ISEI)

0.409***

(0.069)

Proportion of majority friends

−0.028

(0.055)

Intercept

4.006***

3.882***

3.840***

3.500***

(0.426)

(0.409)

(0.409)

(0.474)

No. of obs.

4,286

4,286

4,286

3,934

R2

0.161

0.174

0.210

0.217

Note: Design weighted, accounting for clustering; standard errors in parentheses;

(*) p < 0.05,

(**) p < 0.01,

(***) p < 0.001. (p.332)

Notes:

(1) Education is doubtless one of the most important determinants of individual attitudes and values (Hello et al. 2002). However, the 14-year-old adolescents we observe in this study have not yet completed their education; hence, any conclusions about the role of their educational attainment on sexual liberalism might be premature.

(2) Norris & Inglehart (2004) link countries’ secularisation levels to their wealth and their populations’ vulnerability to physical, social and personal risk.

(3) Pluralism is defined here broadly as a social organisation in which diversity of various kinds (e.g. racial or religious or ethnic or cultural or political) is tolerated.

(4) We abstained from including the question about acceptance of divorce, which is also included in the CILS4EU data, as divorce is not a phenomenon young people face in relation to their own biographies, but is more likely to become relevant to youngsters through their parents’ experience.

(5) All three items build one factor in each of the four countries, with the item pertaining to abortion contributing less to the factor. Cronbach’s alpha lays in the range between 0.65 and 0.67.

(6) This chapter slightly deviates from the classification of origins suggested in Chapter 3 by grouping immigrants from Kazakhstan in a category of European origins rather than together with Central Asia, to which Kazakhstan geographically belongs. The reason is that the bulk of immigrants from Kazakhstan have arrived as ethnic German immigrants to Germany since the late 1980s. This population is largely Christian and was socialised in the former Soviet Union.

(7) All analyses are weighted and the estimates of the standard errors account for clustering of students.

(8) Models 2 in Tables A12.1 to A12.4 in the Appendix show that in all four countries the differences between the first and the second generation are not significant at the 5% level (note that in these models origin group categories are simultaneously controlled for).

(9) We also probed alternative operationalisations of religiosity pertaining to the dimensions of public (religious attendance) and private (praying) expression of religious belonging, and the results remained largely consistent, although religiosity as measured here proved to be the strongest predictor of sexual liberalisation values among all other alternative operationalisations.

(10) We also tested interactions between parental values and offspring’s religious affiliation, but could not find any. Unlike for religiosity, no significant differences are observed in the strength of value transmission in families belonging to different religious denominations (compared to non-religious families).