Immigrant Associations and Social Capital: The Case of Older Turkish Immigrants in Germany

Author/s: Ferhan Saniye Palaz

Year: 2020 Vol: 2 Number: 2


Transnational aging is one of the consequences of international migration and older migrants constitute a considerable part of the aging population in Europe and North America. Immigrant associations play a significant role in the life of older migrants. It can be claimed that the post-migratory circumstances cause a demand for immigrant associations as a response of needs that emerge through the migration process. This article evaluates immigrant associations with a perspective of social capital theory by phenomenological research design. The study group consists of interviewees who are healthy enough to participate social life unassisted. There are eighteen participants who were 60+ yearsold. Respondents have been recruited using snowball sampling. In-depth interviews were performed in 2016 in Germany. The interviewees engaged with the following associations: faith-based associations, cultural associations, sports clubs, social clubs, and educational clubs. The majority of associations were isolated with a strong bonding social capital. Connected associations with bridging social capital was less common. While the main function of these associations was socialization and social support, cultural and fraternal purposes were pronounced as well. The horizontal social networks established in these associations formed a shared identity in addition to community building. They provided social support resources for their members and attendees but also migrants without any membership and also former members.

migration, older adults, transnational aging, immigrant associations, social capital

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