Through the eyes of a child: the meaning and negotiation of integration from the perspective of pupils in Vienna

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Scholars have pointed out that the dominant discourse on integration in Austria is characterized by an assimilationist view. This is particularly evident in various education policy measures – e.g., German support classes (Deutschförderklassen) – which illustrate that the well-being of migrants is not sufficiently taken into account. Against this backdrop, it is interesting to elaborate to what extent the prevailing discourse shapes young people’s understanding of integration. Applying a child-centered approach, we conducted 87 interviews and 13 focus groups with pupils at six secondary schools in Vienna. Not only did we find many different understandings of integration but also contradictions, ambiguities and ambivalences with regard to the concept of integration. Our findings suggest that it is vital for society to perceive young people as active actors in the integration discourse and to take into account the meaning and negotiation of integration as well as the needs and well-being of migrants from the perspective of pupils in order to sustain the integration process of migrant children.
Translated title of the contributionMit den Augen eines Kindes: Bedeutung und Aushandlung von Integration aus der Sicht von Schüler*innen in Wien
Original languageEnglish
Article numbera216
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalRevista Española de Sociología
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2024

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 506016 Migration policy


  • Austria
  • child-centered approach
  • education
  • Integration
  • pupils

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