Patterns of Social Integration Strategies: Mobilising ‘Strong’ and ‘Weak’ Ties of the New European Migrants

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

Patterns of Social Integration Strategies: Mobilising ‘Strong’ and ‘Weak’ Ties of the New European Migrants


  • Boris Popivanov Department of Political Science, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, Bulgaria / New Europe Centre for Regional Studies, Bulgaria
  • Siyka Kovacheva New Europe Centre for Regional Studies, Bulgaria / Department of Applied Sociology, Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski, Bulgaria


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Abstract:  The European mobility processes raise the issue of the integration strategies of new European migrants in their host societies. Taking stock of 154 in-depth interviews with migrants in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, we examine the social ties which they mobilise in order to adapt in a different social environment. The division between ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ ties established in the literature is particularly useful to assess migrants’ experiences in appropriation and transformation of social capital and the variety of their pathways in the labour market. Then we critically study the relative weight of social ties and skill levels in their choice of integration strategies. At the end, four types of strategies corresponding to the types of migrants’ interactions with the home and host contexts are outlined.

Keywords:  European mobility; migration; social capital; social integration; social ties

Published:   7 November 2019


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v7i4.2286


© Boris Popivanov, Siyka Kovacheva. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.