Socio‐cultural Adaptation of Second‐generation Afghans in Iran

AuthorMohammad Jalal Abbasi‐Shavazi,Rasoul Sadeghi
Published date01 December 2015
Date01 December 2015
Socio-cultural Adaptation of
Second-generation Afghans in Iran
Mohammad Jalal Abbasi-Shavazi*,** and Rasoul Sadeghi*
The long-term settlement of Afghan immigrants in Iran, along with their high fertility, has pro-
duced an important shift in the composition of their population with the emergence of a sec-
ond generation. This article aims to examine how second-generation Afghans have adapted to
the host society and to what extent their adaptation patterns have correlated with demographic
and contextual factors. The data is drawn from the 2010 Afghans Adaptation Survey which
covered 520 second-generation Afghans.
Results revealed that second-generation Afghans have a variety of adaptation patterns. Integra-
tion is the most prevalent pattern of adaptation and acculturation (which is observed among
35.8 per cent of respondents) followed by separation (33.3%), assimilation (17.1%) and mar-
ginalization (13.8%). Our multivariate analysis showed that such socio-demographic factors as
gender, education, ethnicity, perceived discrimination, family context, neighbourhood charac-
teristics, length and city of residence are associated with their adaptation patterns.
Successful implementation of policies and durable solutions for Afghans in Iran rests on
the diversity of the adaptation patterns of their second-generation.
Restriction on employment opportunities has led to downward assimilation and marginali-
zation of some of the Afghans in Iran. Improvement in labour laws would promote the
integration of Afghans in the society.
Afghan females have relatively better access to a gender-equitable environment in Iran
than they do in Afghanistan, and are less willing to return to their homeland. The Govern-
ment of Afghanistan should improve service and security provisions for women to ensure
their voluntary repatriation.
Migration from Afghanistan during the past three decades is one of the largest displacement and
refugee movements in modern world history. About a third of Afghanistans population (more than
six million people) abandoned their country and immigrated to almost 72 countries (Turton and
Marsden, 2002; UNHCR, 2007; Saito, 2008). More than 96 per cent of them arrived in two neigh-
bouring countries; Iran and Pakistan.
Iran, as one of the main destinations of Afghan refugees, has hosted around three million Afghan
migrants and refugees in recent decades. The long-term settlement of Afghan immigrants along
* Department of Demography, University of Tehran, Tehran.
** Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, The Australian National University, Canberra.
doi: 10.1111/imig.12148
©2014 The Authors
International Migration ©2014 IOM
International Migration Vol. 53 (6) 2015
ISSN 0020-7985Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
with their young age structure and high fertility has produced an important shift in the composition
of their population with the emergence of a second generation.
Second-generation Afghans in Iran comprise a particular demographic group whose experiences
and aspirations, while not homogenous, are different from those of their parentsgeneration, and
from those of their counterparts in Afghanistan. Educational achievements, occupational skills,
and economic opportunities of second-generation Afghans in Iran have inspired different values
and aspirations for them. They have also been raised in an arguably more liberal social and reli-
gious environment, and exposed to values, attitudes and practices that are different from those of
their parents (Abbasi-Shavazi et al., 2012: 829).
The adaptation of immigrants to the host society has been a major area of immigration research,
and there is now a rich and growing scholarly tradition in the study of the adaptation of second-
generation immigrants (Gans, 1992; Portes and Zhou, 1993; Zhou and Bankston, 1994; Portes,
1996; Perlmann and Waldinger, 1997; Portes and Rumbaut, 2001 and 2006; Berry et al., 2006;
Farley and Alba, 2002; Waldinger and Feliciano, 2004; Abbasi-shavazi et al., 2008 and 2012;
Berry and Sabatier, 2009).
The effect of several socio-demographic factors on adaptation is well documented in the literature
including demographic characteristics prior to migration (Goldlust and Richmond, 1974; Berry,
1992; Waxman, 2001); immigration policy in the host society (Kosic et al., 2006; Berry et al.,
2006; Ager and Strang 2008; Berry and Sabatier, 2009); community context and contextual factors
(Starr and Roberts, 1982; Finch et al., 2000; Birman et al., 2005; Ellis and Almgren, 2009; Ward
et al. 2010); social capital (Zhou and Bankston, 1994; Marger, 2001); gender (Dion and Dion,
2001; Qin, 2004 and 2006); ethnicity (Zhou and Bankston, 1994; Portes and Rumbaut, 2001; Ved-
der et al., 2006); social class (Chang, 1984; Portes and Rumbaut, 2001); education (Kosic et al.,
2006); and rational choice (Alba and Nee, 2003; Nee and Alba, 2013).
Despite this great volume of research on the adaptation of immigrants in developed countries such
as the US, Europe, Canada, and Australia, much less attention has been given to the socio-cultural
adaptation of immigrants in developing countries such as Iran. Indeed, integration has become both a
key policy objective related to the resettlement of refugees, and a matter of signif‌icant public discus-
sion (Ager and Strang, 2008: 166). However, little is known about how refugees have acculturated to
their new homeland. As Johnathan Bascom (1995, p. 209) stated, the integration of urban refugees is
one of the most poorly understood and under-researched topics in forced migration studies.
In Iran, previous studies have made important contributions to the understanding of the situation
of Afghans, but the focus of these studies has been on demographic aspects (Abbasi-Shavazi et al.,
2007; Sadeghi, 2009); family and fertility (Piran, 2004; Tober, 2004; Sadeghipur et al., 2006;
Tober et al., 2006; Sadeghi and Abbasi-Shavazi, 2010; Abbasi-Shavazi and Sadeghi, 2012); trans-
national networks, livelihood strategies and return (Jamshidiha and Ali Babaie, 2002; Jamshidiha
and Anbari, 2004; Abbasi-Shavazi et al., 2005). However, there is no study on the socio-cultural
adaptation orientations of second generation Afghans in Iran. The present study examines the adap-
tation or acculturation orientations of second-generation Afghans and its socio-demographic corre-
lates. We follow up two aims in this study; f‌irst, exploring socio- cultural adaptation patterns of
second-generation Afghans, and second, to examine differentials in and socio-demographic
correlates of adaptation patterns of the study group.
Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic society, with Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, and Baloch
being the main ethnic groups in the country. These ethnic groups live in different parts of Afghani-
stan and each has distinct culture and values as compared with other ethnicities (Ateeq, 2013). For
90 Abbasi-Shavazi and Sadeghi
©2014 The Authors. International Migration ©2014 IOM

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT