The role of being a minority in the country-of-origin in civic and political integration: migrants from Turkey in the UK
This study examines the civic and political integration of migrants from Turkey in the United Kingdom (UK), comparing the members of the majority group in the country-of-origin (Turkish and Sunni) with the ethnic (Kurdish) and religious (Alevi) minority group members. It is argued that minority groups have more adaptability skills and in-group consciousness developed through uneven interaction with a majority group, and their collective experiences in their country-of-origin migrate with them to the country-of-residence. Therefore, they better adapt to the civic and political life in the country-of-residence compared to migrants who were members of the majority group in the country-of-origin. This novel argument is tested through a new civic and political integration model using individual-level survey data and complemented by in-depth interviews with the migrant organization representative for a better understanding of the mechanism of the civic and political integration process. The empirical findings provide mixed results: It confirms that (ethnic) minorities are more actively involved in politics than the majority. However, there is no difference between migrants with majority and minority backgrounds in terms of civic participation. Furthermore, migrants differ in their perceptions of belongingness to the country-of-residence’s politics. While (ethnic) minorities feel belonged to the political system in the UK more than the majority, (ethnic) minorities believe that minorities are represented in the system. Religious minority status is also significant in the sense of representation; compared to the majority, more religious minorities feel that their community is represented in the system. The qualitative data suggests that the majority had a natural integration process through time, whereas, among the minority, the group consciousness that was already developed in the country-of-origin enabled collective learning and action, and higher adaptability allowed them to access different resources and networks, which eventually facilitate minorities to have higher civic and political integration than the migrants with a majority-origin.