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Robert Crosnoe, Chair CLA 3.306, Mailcode A1700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-6300

Thomas Soehl - "From Origins to Destinations: Change and Continuity in Immigrants' Attitudes towards Homosexuality"

Mon, November 25, 2013 • 12:00 PM • CLA 1.302B

Many migrants in Western Europe hail from countries where attitudes towards gender relations and sexual norms are considerably more conservative than in the host countries they eventually settle in. Although there is considerable public and academic debate over the consequences and the politicization of these differences, we don't know much about whether or how migrants' attitudes change within and across generations, and what factors shape this process.  This paper sets out to explore these issues. Using a cross-classified hierarchical regression model and a newly assembled dataset on attitudes towards homosexuality in 83 origin and 23 destination countries I model the relative influence of origin and destination contexts on the attitudes of 15,000 immigrants and children of immigrants in Europe. I find considerable evidence for change across, but also within generations: As immigrants settle, country of origin influences lessen and country of destination characteristics matter more, but this process takes place over the medium to long run. Migrants’ cultural practices and economic integration matter as well. Respondents who maintain home-country language, are religious, or are economically marginalized are more anchored in the country of origin attitude landscapes though these effects vary between immigrants and the second generation.

Thomas Soehl is a PhD candidate in Sociology at UCLA. Two themes guide his research: the importance of family ties for migrants and the inter-generational transmission of culture, socio-economic characteristics, and political attachments in migrant families.  A second theme is the political transition that international migration involves and the multiple and shifting socio-political attachments of migrants. To date, his work has been published in the American Journal of Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Forces, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies among others. Before joining the PhD program he worked as a policy analyst for the New York City Council and earned a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School where he was a McCloy scholar.


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