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Growing up in Diverse SocietiesThe Integration of the Children of Immigrants in England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden$
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Frank Kalter, Jan O. Jonsson, Frank van Tubergen, and Anthony Heath

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266373

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266373.001.0001

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Making Friends across Ethnic Boundaries: Are Personal Networks of Adolescents Diverse?

Making Friends across Ethnic Boundaries: Are Personal Networks of Adolescents Diverse?

(p.176) 7 Making Friends across Ethnic Boundaries: Are Personal Networks of Adolescents Diverse?
Growing up in Diverse Societies

Frank van Tubergen

Sanne Smith

British Academy

How ethnically diverse are the social networks of adolescents in Europe? The present study finds that ethnic majority youth in England, Germany, Netherlands and Sweden have very few ties to ethnic minority peers, either in the neighbourhood or at school. The networks of ethnic minorities are more mixed, because the groups to which they belong are smaller in size. Such structural opportunities for meeting members of other groups also plays a key role in understanding why some ethnic minority groups—being smaller in size—are more ‘open’ than other groups. Next to opportunities, also in-group preferences appear important. Both majority and minority groups exhibit a preference to befriend peers from their own ethnic group. Possibly, parents play a role in overcoming these ethnic boundaries. Findings suggest that having more ethnically mixed personal networks and more-positive attitudes towards other ethnic groups is transmitted from parents to their children.

Keywords:   social networks, personal networks, adolescents, ethnicity, neighbourhoods, immigrants, friendship, interethnic ties, ethnic boundaries

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