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Name change and destigmatization among Middle Eastern immigrants in Sweden
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2012 (English)In: Ethnic and Racial Studies, ISSN 0141-9870, E-ISSN 1466-4356, Vol. 35, no 3, 471-487 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that individuals in Sweden with foreign-sounding surnames who take on more Swedish-sounding or neutral surnames have a positive earnings progression compared to individuals who keep their foreign-sounding names. This article explores the strategies underlying these surname changes. I draw on forty-five interviews from a population of individuals with Middle Eastern backgrounds who changed surnames during the 1990s. Drawing on stigma and destigmatization theory, I argue that immigrant name change, a strategy typically associated with cultural assimilation, is a destigmatization strategy aiming for pragmatic assimilation. Through passing (as either Swedish or non-Middle Eastern), immigrants may keep the benefits of maintaining ethnic identity in their private life and the benefits of more easy public interactions outside the ethnic group. This study also illustrates how the institutional enabling of name change both creates and enables pragmatic assimilation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 35, no 3, 471-487 p.
Keyword [en]
Stigma, immigrants, pragmatic assimilation, name change, ethnic discrimination, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-81488DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2011.589522ISI: 000301861400007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-81488DiVA: diva2:561950
Available from: 2012-10-22 Created: 2012-10-22 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Ethnic Discrimination, Name Change and Labor Market Inequality: Mixed approaches to ethnic exclusion in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ethnic Discrimination, Name Change and Labor Market Inequality: Mixed approaches to ethnic exclusion in Sweden
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis consists of four empirical studies on ethnic integration in the Swedish labor market. Studies I-III draw on a field experiment testing ethnic discrimination in the hiring process.

Study I documents the existence of employer discrimination in response to equally merited applications with Arabic/African or Swedish names, and shows that foreign-named applicants have to send twice as many applications to receive a callback compared to Swedish-named applicants. Results also suggest that employers in female-dense occupations practice ethnic and gender compensation while employers in male-dense occupations practice only gender compensation.

Study II reveals gendered differences in the intensity of employer stereotypes by testing how much more work experience is needed to eliminate the disadvantage of having an Arabic name on a job application. Results indicate a reverse gender gap, as initial differences in call-backs disappear for female applicants when CVs for Arabic-named applications are enhanced but remain strong and significant for male applicants.

Study III evaluates criticism directed at residual analysis and field experiments that claims that they tell us nothing about real world discrimination and its long-term effects. By combining experimental and register data, Study III responds to this criticism by showing that the results of Study I correspond closely with real world labor market inequality of identical ‘twins’ (identified through propensity score matching) to the fictive individuals of Study I.

Study IV explores the strategies underlying surname change from a Middle Eastern name to a more Swedish sounding one, drawing on 45 interviews with surname changers with a Middle Eastern background. The results indicate that immigrant name change is a pragmatic assimilation strategy. The study also illustrates how the institutional enabling of name change both creates and enables pragmatic assimilation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2012. 47 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 54
Keyword
ethnicity, ethnic discrimination, employment gaps, field experiment, correspondence test, gender, sex segregation, name change, stigma, pragmatic assimilation, mixed methods, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-79041 (URN)978-91-87235-08-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-11-30, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2012-11-08 Created: 2012-08-24 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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