Integration changes cultures - lecturer

 

INTEGRATION IS sometimes used as a euphemism for assimilation in European countries, a senior psychology professor said during a public lecture at Trinity College Dublin last night.

Prof John Berry, of Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, said young people from immigrant or ethnic minority groups were sometimes expected to keep their heritage culture only in the private sphere.

“In other words, the public culture is the culture of the dominant group and all other cultures are down and out,” he said.

Prof Berry said most interaction with immigrants tended to take place in schools or in the workplace.

Both cultures would change as a result of this interaction, and “school, health and possibly policing will be changing here in Ireland”.

He said the motivation behind Polish immigration into Ireland had been “rather benign” as “they needed work and you needed workers”. He contrasted this with cultures with a colonial background. However, he said it had to be recognised that the Polish people who had arrived here were changing.

“Soon it will be quite obvious that Poles in Ireland are not the same as Poles in Poland.”

Prof Berry will be at the Children’s Research Centre in Trinity until May 7th as a visiting fellow of the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.