Psychological Dynamics of Issues in Integration of Immigrant; Paradox to the New Social Organization 

Lulu Farshana M

Migration is a global phenomenon, in which the citizens are cross their national-international boundaries by considering different reason while this struggle always ended up with one goal that is “search for a better life”. The history itself recorded the existential crises and issues of adaptations of the immigrant. It conforming that the changes in the social stratification of the receiving society and cultural integration are the prominent resultant effect of this process. This paper intents to analyse the existing review of literature of migration although it worthy of political and psychological exploration. Begin with unfolding of the socio-psychological approaches towards migration and then review the studies of psychological issues of immigrant and conceptualize the psychological factors defeating the process of acculturation, assimilation, adaptation and conflicts between majority and minority groups. We conclude that the psychological factors also plays significant role in the rebuilding of the existing identities of both migrant and receiving communities, and this factors disturb the wellbeing by acts as  fuel for the paradox of the construction and socialization of the possible merging between the culture.

Key words: Migration, Psycho-dynamics, Receiving society, Acculturation, Assimilation, Paradox.


Migration is a universal phenomenon occurs when the nation crosses through different crises in the global aspects hardly affect the life of citizens in the nation and they forced to cross their national international boundaries. The existing literature implies the integration of the immigrants is influences many factors especially social, cultural, psychological, political etc. The historical, political contexts affect the merging of the immigrant community and receiving society. The psychological approach which discusses the core of the migration are mainly fall on the two basic approaches that is assimilation and multiculturalism. Deanux classified the factors into three level, such as micro level like political demographic and social factors and macro level factors like attitude, values, motivation, identity etc. The meso- level factors include intergroup attitude, stereotypes and social networks (2006). These factors discuss mainly two challenges of immigrants affect the integration into the new social organization, one is the way that receiving society’s perceptions about the immigrants and migration process and the second issue is the experience of integration into the new culture. Culture and ethnicity plays great role in the development of the social stratification and conflict between majority and minority group. While if the immigrant do not want to maintain their own cultural and ethnic identity and ready to accept and participate to  the cultural values of receiving society implies they are more prone to the assimilation process. Assimilation also attained by merging of many specific cultures and forms a new social organization.

The purpose of this paper is to narrow down the psychological factors discussed in the existing literature which affect the integration of immigrant into the new social organization and unfold the significant influence of psychological factors leads to the issues of integration of immigrants and it can highlights the current trends in the field of interdisciplinary study which is worth of both psychological and political exploration. The paper gives an overall idea about the immigrant’s integration in the receiving society and the challenges faced by the psychological indicators. We examines the relationship between psychological factors and integration of immigrants in the new community. We hypothesised that the psychological factors are influencing the integration of immigrants and act as paradox to the development of new social organization.

Approaches to integration of immigrants

After WWII the nature of the migration changed progressively. Quantity of the immigrants increased in a dramatic manner due to quality of human life affected negatively like conflicts, disasters which leads to the global inequalities and then people starts search for better life. Before 1990’s most of the researchers studied the integration of immigrants drew in the main aspects as assimilation and acculturation. Many theoretical approaches are developed over the years to asses these two processes including changes in attitude, values, behaviour language and social identity. Assimilation lies on the principle of similarity between migrant group and the receiving society, this intergroup similarity leads to the attainment of integration into receiving society and promote the balance between intergroup relations. Minority group mostly asserts self-government rights and political autonomy (Kymlicka, 1995).

The classical understanding of assimilation as general settlement of political policy because it became more questioned in the context of the new immigrants, they are leaving their origin and permanently making the living situations in the new social organisation this would be a heterogeneous space to provide the single culture is became most difficult task in the integration (Deaux, 2006).

Similarly emergence of transnational communities is the other key feature of contemporary migration (Faist, 2009). Considering to new modes of online communication and decreasing travel costs, migrants more easily maintain relationships with their societies of origin across national borders. Transnational social spaces are shows in political engagement of migrants in their country of origin, as financial support for motherland connections, or as regular travelling between the receiving society and the mother country. Transnationalism thereby de-emphasizes the importance of physical location of migrants in the receiving society and extends multiculturalism and ethnic loyalties across the national borders of the receiving society (Huddy, 2001).

Acculturation concern with all the phenomenon resulting from continues and sustained contact between individual and group from different culture. Special emphases is placed on the idea that change concern both groups and that there is mutually influence (Vedder,2013). Acculturation is an effect of inter group relationship this makes the septicity of acculturation from adaptation which evidences for the one dimensional process of influences  and a concrete practicality to which immigrants have to adapt (Chryssochoou, 2004). Although it implies the mutual influences between the communities at different level like economic, political, social etc. The extensive researchers found that the acculturation as result of contact between group norms and values and the factors influencing it are power, status, similarity and compatibility of values, attitude as well as the emotional consequences.

Intergroup conflict is the prominent factor studied in the field of social psychology and it dominated in the aspects of personality theory (Brown, 1965) and realistic conflict theory (Sharif, 1965).In the end of 20th century social identity theory were developed (Tajfel, 1981) this made rise of many challenges to the earlier social psychological perspectives and space for the researches related to the psychological dynamics of categorisation, social comparison,  social identity enhancement and in-group discrimination against out-groups. Social justification theory deals with the intergroup relation and social stereotyping (Jost & Banaji,1994) stated that the group stereotypes serves as ideological system justification function and cognitive motivational function identified by psychologists as ego justification and group justification. 

Convergence between host and migrant acculturation preferences do not always occur in the possible social elevation (Bourhis et al.,1990)  and have argued that differences in  attitudes result in problematic or conflict of outcomes between the social stratifications (Horenczyk,1996). The research revealed that both Russian migrants and Israeli hosts preferred integration, but members of the receiving community had a stronger preference for assimilation than did migrants; they also believed that migrants were more willing to assimilate than was actually the case.

By the theoretical understandings about the psychological perspectives proposes that the immigrants undergo through the different areas of psychological functioning like language, cognitive style, personality traits, identity, attitude, stress etc.(Berry,1980). After the primary stage in the integration of the immigrants, they started a phase of conflicts then they start the adaptation phase and choosing many strategies to try into cooperate with the existing receiving society.

Group identity and social cohesion as a contributor to integration 

In the middle of 20th century onwards, time passes with a lot of conflicts between inter- intra group members in world widely leads to national international degrading of the citizen’s life which is forcefully diminished the positive life circumstances in own society and they were challenged to change their habituates act as a main reason for the development of interest of social psychologists towards the researches of political behaviour and group membership. By the effect of the involvement as a group member assisted the group identification process altogether brings the political researches about the political behaviour and group membership. 

Consideration of the political cohesion and conformity towards the group activities eventually refining the extreme intergroup hostility which consequences the diversity in the political membership and identity as subjectively influence their culture and ethnicity (Miller, 1960). It evidences by the large scale international immigration occurs at the end era of communism in the European regions debits on the group based politics and identity (Huddy, 2001).

Political reality is also been a part can assess the level of the group participation and cultural adaptation engages the factors such as status, law status group members did not engage in the collective actions and not ready to rectify their strata in the social settings ( Miller, 1981). This might be imply that the perception of the immigrants inability to develop the group identity and cohesion towards the receiving society. Social identity theory evolved gradually as strong psychological alternatives to the reference group theory that provides a more clarified evidence for the adoption of group identification and its consequences. One of the important insight of the social identity theory have been as a psychological motivator to being a group member by trying to merge with the new social organization, this stage were always be crucial to the social integration and evaluation of values and cultural aspects occurs in the both societies (Turner, 1987). The cognitive aspects of the categorization (Turner,1987) discusses the perceptual distortion that related to the intergroup differences being act as contradictory reference to the social identification followed by the group discrimination (Eiser,1996). It imply that immigrants are not simply doing passive automatic categorization, they actively evaluate the factors to identify themselves and resist the undesirable taglines by others (Fiske & Tylor, 2008).  Social identity and cohesion will be catalyses each other by providing a space to explore the new organisation, while the merging will be followed and considered by many factors makes a bit critical, and rise challenges to the development of new social organization.

Crowd psychology also deals with the individual desired identity confusions in a mass, and researchers enlightens the feature of group is always less rational than individuals. Identity is a multi-aspectual factor it being constructed as an effect of personal identity and as well as the collective aspects of social identity (Turner, 1987). There is no need of the loss of identity in the integration process while it deals with the proper relocation of the personal identity towards the social identity. For the new social organization never force to vanquish the personal and moral interest and values but which have to bind with the collective norms, rules, values and preferences. Expression of social identity have been a major perspective considering cognitive (Reicher, 2012) shared identities followed by the entitlement of citizen to act on the collaborative understanding (Drury, 2009) makes crucial stage to the integration and development of the new social organization. The tendency to develop more out group thought is derived by the influence of the logical result of personal cognitive capacity to perceive the other people in more unique manner which differentiate the self-identity based on the social categorization (Hewstone, 2007).

From Prejudice and Stereotype to the Group Discrimination

Prejudice is a psycho- dynamical concepts often described as a negative intergroup attitude (Allport, 1954). Prejudice can be explained by three main structural and functional sought being in the features of human are within the individual, inter group conflict and social threats. The people having social dominance and social orientation will lead to the social conformity and values perseverance (Pratto, 1994). They also being tend to the social stratification which develops the negative attitude toward the migrant as a minority group. There is need to evaluate and differentiate the features of human nature based on the characteristics of structural and functional such as identity, ideology, social perception, moral values, inter group conflicts, group identification, and social dissociation to understand prejudice. Prejudice towards the migrant group always shows a notion of threat which being lies on the symbolic and material levels (Stephan, 2005). Scholars’ takes this concept as an idea of categorization which follows thought and evaluation of other people help to observe, predict, plan and make sense of the behaviour (Fisk & Tylor, 2008).

Social psychologists have been differentiated three distinct components of prejudice meant to be express the negative inter-group attitudes, those are negative stereotypes considered as a cognitive components, negative feelings as affective components and the negative behavioural components towards the out group (Dukitt,2003) and the researchers are more deviated their focus towards the behavioural expression. Decoded the reasons of negative behaviour to the out group. The most directed parts are the behavioural avoidance and social discrimination. The researchers also developed measures for analysing the behavioural factors with different methods (Bogardus’s social distance scale, 1925). Equating researches on cognitive perspectives of prejudice be shows as a threat to the integration path of migrant group. The existing prevalent discrimination are the objective of the prejudice have been recorded in the literature clearly gives the implications of the consequences.

Prejudice not works in an equal dimension of intergroup conditions, in which the majority as receiving society gets favoured in the expressive and material levels. Through the national identity urge upon the immigrants group forced to reflect the values and exercises of receiving society (Chryssocchoou, 2004) this identity makes inconsistency between the attitude and behaviour of the immigrants affect their well-being. Many studies directed that the dual identity strategies will not makes favour for the ethnic minority group under the process of discrimination and they are being denied by the major group from by accepting immigrants as citizen of the receiving country (Brown, 2011). Political radicalization also became a resultant effect of the inconsistency between the migrant group and the receiving society (Simon, 2013).

Stereotypes are always acts as over generalized concept about a certain group (Bordalo 2016) which gives easiness in the processing of knowledge and information while it causes my biases in the perception, judgement and discrimination towards a group. When we consider the case immigrants most of the surveys reported and evidencing that migrant group most of the time facing the anti-immigrant stereotypes in the receiving countries. Studies revealed that the negative stereotypes having internalized long lasting effect on the future which gives negative feedback on the wellbeing. The group threat theory (Blumer,1958) also discusses the stereotype based on the group social positions and claim of resources.

Stereotypes does not always involves prejudices, even though out-group stereotypes be in categorization based on their attitude like positive, negative and neutral while the negative stereotype have the expressive impact on the immigrants prejudiced attitude. This discusses the extent of the negative stereotype which would been the expression of prejudice towards the immigrant group. This instance implies the negative stereotype will act as favour for the development of the dislike or discrimination towards the minority. Prejudice and stereotypes follows a parallel relationship have consecutive concepts works based on the positive and negative dimensions. The researchers have identified the evaluative dimensions of the stereotype. One of it were coming under trait of competence features such as achievement, ability, strength etc. The second would be coming under the category of beneficent were the traits like warmth or morality (Brewer, 1976).

Discrimination have a consequential association with the personal psychological well-being and collective group identification. Data collected by the international surveys implies that the immigrants status of living always been connected with the adjustment lies on the wellbeing (Motti-Stefanidi, 2008). Immigrant group experience stigmatization and threat from the majority group based on the effect of prejudice and stereotype (Steel, 2002) which leads to get discriminate and affect negatively the development of social identities. This would being an evidence for the psychological factors of integration are inter connected with each other.


The process of migration changes the generalized representation of the host society by the need of accommodation of the immigrants and their cultures. It always followed by the merging of cultures. Then societies ready to develop a common national identities based on the social cohesiveness and coexistence of the different social classes in a social structure. This is not a single line process which is being idealized, while in the practical exercise of integration of immigrant towards the receiving society to the development of new social organization being conduct through multiple processes, most of the time the attainment of the goal of new social organization became a failure which would be affect the immigrants living circumstances in negative way. The immigrants always start the live with bottom strata processing as by choosing low grade jobs in the receiving society. For the migrant group hierarchy based group membership can resist their mobility from lower to higher level (Chryssochoou, 2016).This paper is intents to try to narrow down the psychological factors which affect the integration of immigrates and makes resistant to the development of new social organization were mentioned in the existing literature. We examined the factors and are being find out that the each factors are inter connected with each other and are develop conflict between the majority and minority groups.

Studies on integration of immigrants were explicitly impacted the characteristics of social, political, economic, cultural aspects. The future research can follow into,

  • Ethnic and cultural aspects between the immigrants and receiving society.
  • Differences in the works and related perspectives.
  • Differences in immigration policies and programmes by the overnment for the sake of proper integration.
  • Changes in the international relations and boundaries. 


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Lulu Farshana M
ORCID: 0000-0003-1053-1422
Research Scholar
Department of Humanities and Social Science
MANIT Bhopal
Pin: 462003
Ph: +91 8075221693