A Psychology of Immigration



The discipline of psychology has much to contribute to our understanding of immigrants and the process of immigration. A framework is proposed that lays out two complementary domains of psychological research, both rooted in contextual factors, and both leading to policy and program development. The first (acculturation) stems from research in anthropology and is now a central part of cross- cultural psychology; the second (intergroup relations) stems from sociology and is now a core feature of social psychology. Both domains are concerned with two fundamental issues that face immigrants and the society of settlement: maintenance of group characteristics and contact between groups. The intersection of these issues creates an intercultural space, within which members of both groups develop their cultural boundaries and social relationships. A case is made for the benefits of integration as a strategy for immigrants and for multiculturalism as a policy for the larger society. The articles in this issue are then discussed in relation to these conceptual frameworks and empirical findings.