The civil servant’s point of view on immigrants and acculturation in Finland : A Qualitative Attitude Approach

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Title: The civil servant’s point of view on immigrants and acculturation in Finland : A Qualitative Attitude Approach
Author: Alenius, Reetta
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiaalitieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för socialvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingfors universitet
Date: 2013
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Social Psychology
Abstract: The Act on Integration was passed in 2010 in order to promote the integration of immigrants and their participation in the society. According to that Act, those who come to Finland are entitled to an integration plan, which they prepare together with a civil servant. This study examines the attitudes that civil servants, working with immigrants, hold towards foreigners, immigration and immigrants. It also considers what importance those civil servants attach to different dimensions of the acculturation process, the two-way change of society, and acquiring employment, societal skills and knowledge, and whether their attitudes mirror Finnish immigration legislation and the social psychological definitions of integration as an acculturation strategy. The study is based on six interviews that were conducted in the Social Centre of Refugees and Returnees in Tampere, in 2012. The method used in the study is the Qualitative Attitude Approach. The results of this study support previous research on the attitudes of social workers towards immigrants, with respect to the polarized nature of their perceptions: on one hand attitudes towards foreigners, immigration and immigrants were favourable, but at the same time, immigrants, especially humanitarian immigrants, were seen to be problematic. The main concerns associated with immigration were insufficient resources for the integration process, the inability to offer employment or other meaningful activity, the consequences of the negative attitudes of the local population, and cultural differences. The importance the officers accorded to the different factors in the acculturation process largely conformed to the legislation and notions of integration as one acculturation orientation. Yet contrary to some social psychological definitions of integration, cultural adoption (excluding those cultural practices which contravened Finnish law) or identification with the host population were not considered significant. Furthermore, and in contrast to Finnish immigration policies, the presence of extended family was considered to be of great importance to integration.
Subject: asenteet

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