On values among immigrants : research questions and critical research review
Do immigrants hold values specific to them ? This critical review begins by questioning the validity of the question itself and considering the ambiguities that weigh on the categories it refers to : immigrants, Français issus de l’immigration [French descendants of immigrants], Français de souche [French of French origin], etc. A comparison between the French case and other European societies with large immigrant populations shows that the question is closely linked to national political orientations on citizenship : underlying it is the question of immigrants’ eligibility to belong to the national community, and of the place they are to hold in that community, which varies by whether the community is defined as pluricultural or culturally homogeneous. The second part examines a set of French research studies on the values held in various areas (family life, types of socializing, work, religion, political life, etc.) of young descendants by North African immigrants over the last 30 years. The review brings to light regularities that were firmly established by the major statistical surveys (e.g., young descendants of this immigrant population are firmly positioned on the political left), while qualitative research more clearly brings out variability of orientations by actor’s socialization itinerary. The conclusion underlines the need to fit together the two types of approach and further develop international comparison, particularly within the European framework.