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  Trames
A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN 1736-7514 (electronic)  ISSN 1406-0922 (print)
Published since 1997

Trames
A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences

ISSN 1736-7514 (electronic)  ISSN 1406-0922 (print)
Published since 1997

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THE STRENGTH OF NATIVE TIES: SOCIAL NETWORKS OF FINNISH IMMIGRANTS IN ESTONIA; pp. 421–440

(Full article in PDF format)   DOI: 10.3176/tr.2008.4.04


Authors

Heli Hyvönen

Abstract

This article, which is based on 24 in-depth interviews conducted in 2005 with Finnish immigrant women in Estonia, analyzes immigrant acculturation in relation to cross-border contacts. I compared weak and strong social ties of two groups: respondents who were living in a Finnish ‘enclave’ separated from Estonian society, and respondents who were socially and institutionally integrated into Estonian society. Surprisingly, there was no notable difference in the type and frequency of inter-personal contacts maintained with Finland between the two groups; most interviewees sustained intense inter-personal contacts with family and friends by phone, the Internet and through reciprocal visits. So-called weak ties that bind together rarely interacting people played a major role in the respondent’s integration into the host society. Those women who had no social contacts within Estonian society preferred to use health-care and social welfare services in Finland, whereas the integrated women had established multiple institutional ties to Estonian society.

Keywords

immigration, cross-border contacts, acculturation strategies, weak ties, strong ties.

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