Who Do You Hang Out With? Peer Group Association and Cultural Assertion among Second-Generation Italians in Switzerland

  • Susanne Wessendorf


It is common for the descendants of migrants to go through phases of contrasting feelings of belonging during adolescence, negotiating their affiliations to their co-ethnics, the majority society and migrants of other origins. Many studies focusing on the second generation have looked at how migrant youth create new spaces of belonging, influenced by the plural social systems in which they grow up. Drawing on research on second-generation Italians in Switzerland, this chapter analyses such processes of negotiation and discusses the importance of peer groups. It looks at the various positionalities developed by members of the second generation and demonstrates that rather than solely motivated by ethnicity and shared culture, these are also shaped by factors such as shared interests with peers. By moving away from a primary focus on ethnicity, which dominates research on migrant youth, the chapter shows why members of the second generation consciously or unconsciously reify or disregard their migrant backgrounds.1


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Copyright information

© VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften | GWV Fachverlage GmbH,Wiesbaden 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Wessendorf
    • 1
  1. 1.Currently working towards a DPhil in Social Anthropology at the University of OxfordUK

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