2 Int'l Migration Rev. 3 (1968)

handle is hein.journals/imgratv2 and id is 1 raw text is: 



A Theory and a Method for the

Psychological Study of Assimilation

                                                     by Alan Richardson*


                                   A theory of assimilation is presented which
                                 specifies the characteristic sequence of psycho-
                                 logical changes through which an immigrant
                                 may pass. It is asserted that a minimal level of
                                 satisfaction with his new life constitutes the
                                 necessary prerequsite for the development of
                                 an identification or feeling of attachment to the
                                 new community. In its turn, a minimal level
                                 of identification is the typical prerequisite for
                                 a high level of acculturation to occur, in which
                                 the immigrant actually becomes more like rel-
                                 evant members of the host group. Support for
                                 this theory has been obtained from studies em-
                                 ploying cumulative scaling methods and from
                                 the finding that predictable relationships exist
                                 between each level of assimilation and variables
                                 selected on the basis of the theory.
                                   Dr. Richardson's theory is a very valuable
                                 tool of socio-psychological analysis, almost an
                                 indispensable step to be taken before any study
                                 of structural assimilation and it shows the need
                                 of approaching the problems of immigrants
                                 from their individual perspective as well as
                                 from the perspective of the societies of de-
                                 parture and arrival.**

     Interest in migratory behaviour, in its causes and consequences,
in its effects on the individual and on the group, is as old as any
topic in the social sciences. Within the past hundred years it has

* Dr. Alan Richardson is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of
Western Australia. He is author of several studies in the field of immigration
and an Advisory Editor to The International Migration Review.

** The discussion on the problems of assimilation and the methods of studying
itA will be carried on in our next issues with articles by Charles Price of the
National Australian University and R. Bar-Yosef Weiss of the Hebrew Univer-
sity in Jerusalem.

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