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Based on an extensive literature review on the relationship between religious affiliation, religiosity and engagement in romantic relationships in early adolescence, the chapter deals with first romantic relationships on the basis of survey data of dyads of mothers and their children between 15–17 years of age from Germany and Israel, in which seven culturally different social groups are included, namely native Germans, German repatriates, Turkish immigrants, and Russian Jewish immigrants in Germany, and native Israelis, Russian Jewish immigrants and Israeli Arabs in Israel. Thus, the sample comprises groups of three religions (Christians, Jews, Muslims) and from four regions of origin (Germany, Russia, Turkey, Israel). After an exploration on level differences between these groups with regard to involvement of adolescents in romantic relationships, the subsequent analysis investigates to which extent this involvement is structured by normative beliefs and influenced by intergenerational transmission, the relationship between mothers and adolescents, and experiences, preferences, and competencies of the adolescents.
I got to know Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı on my first visit to Turkey in 1985, when trying to validate my empirical research on Turkish immigrant families in Germany in discussions with Turkish social scientists. This visit introduced me to the concept value of children, which thereafter became most influential to my academic work, both at the theoretical level, as it fitted well into modern sociological action theory and multi-level approaches, and in empirical research, as Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı's analyses were always at the interface of psychology and social sciences. During several encounters thereafter on various occasions, I felt much encouraged to take the initiative for a replication of the Value of Children (VOC) studies twenty five years later, which was the baseline for the following thoughts. I will always admire Çiğdem Kağıtçıbaşı for her ability to combine sharp analytical thinking with a humanitarian engagement for a civic society.
Theorizing about the interrelationship between macro-social change and family structure has been a major feature of the various disciplines of the social sciences from their very beginning. In many cases, “family” was seen as the social group where the impact of social change could be understood in its greatest depth (Thornton 2005). Accordingly, the history of social sciences is full of examples of sequential models of social change and its consequences on family and kinship.
The extent of intergenerational transmission is seen in the context of migrant families as a major mechanism by which the adolescents' intraethnic and interethnic social contacts are shaped and their social identification is structured. To integrate these family-related aspects of the social incorporation of immigrants, classical theoretical models of assimilation processes have to be extended and modified. The following empirical analyses examine the role of intergenerational transmission in the social incorporation of second-generation adolescents. As a starting point for an adequate modeling of intergenerational transmission processes, a classical action-theoretical model by Esser (1980) was chosen. This theoretical model includes both contextual and individual mechanisms that affect the assimilation process: Opportunity structures, action barriers, and action alternatives are related to the perceptions, cognitions, and evaluations of the individual actor in a simple two-level (i.e., context and individual) process model of cognitive, structural, social, and identificational assimilation. According to this model, personal preconditions of the assimilation process are partly “imported” motivational and cognitive attributes that are confronted with the opportunities provided by the respective context in the receiving society and that “match” a specific social and structural placement as the starting point of an assimilation career. Discrimination is seen in this theoretical model as a major source of action barriers that thus restricts the action alternatives for social integration of minority members.
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