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Parallel Lives Revisited: Mediterranean Guest Workers and their Families at Work and in the Neighbourhood, 1960-1980

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Parallel Lives Revisited

Mediterranean Guest Workers and their Families at Work and in the Neighbourhood, 1960-1980

Jozefien De Bock
Foreword by Leo Lucassen

220 pages, 20 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-778-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-779-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Using sociological theory and historical methods, Jozefien De Bock successfully stresses the interplay of structural opportunity and individual choice in this enlightening case study of immigrants who came to the Belgian city of Ghent from 1960 to 1980. Her study is a welcome addition to the literature detailing the processes of migration and settlement.” • Nancy L. Green, School of Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris

“By carefully balancing agency with structure, theory with empiricism, and historical and sociological methods with one another, this study makes a clear and convincing intervention in current debates about the integration of migrants.” • Frank Caestecker, Ghent University

“De Bock carefully and successfully combines a rigorous quantitative study of migrations in the Belgian city of Ghent with detailed and stimulating descriptions of migrant life in the region between 1960 and 1980. The wealth of this material, especially the extensive interviews, opens up new insights into the complexities of migration, segregation, and integration.” • Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, University of Bielefeld


Originally coined in 2001 in a report on racial tensions in the United Kingdom, the concept of “parallel lives” has become familiar in the European discourse on immigrant integration. There, it refers to what is perceived as the segregation of immigrant populations from the rest of society. However, the historical roots of this presumed segregation are rarely the focus of discussion. Combining quantitative analysis, archival research, and over one hundred oral history interviews, Parallel Lives Revisited explores the lives of immigrants from six Mediterranean countries in a postwar Belgian city to provide a fascinating account of how their experiences of integration have changed at work and in their neighborhoods across two decades.

Jozefien De Bock is currently a Fulbright postdoctoral scholar at Clemson University, studying workplace desegregation and race relations in the US South. She has published her work in such journals as the Journal of Belgian History, Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Subject: Refugee and Migration StudiesHistory: 20th Century to PresentSociology
Area: Europe


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