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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 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Not Yet Published (January 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-779-6 eBook Not Yet Published

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“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 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 studies of racial tension in the United Kingdom, the concept of ‘parallel lives’ has become familiar in analyses of socially isolated immigrant communities. Yet even just within Europe, migrant segregation is clearly not a new historical phenomenon. Combining careful historical research with over one hundred migrant interviews, Parallel Lives Revisited explores the lives of immigrants from six Mediterranean countries in postwar Ghent to provide a fascinating collective account of work and home life across two decades.

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

Subject: Refugee & Migration Studies Postwar History Sociology
Area: Europe


List of Illustrations

Leo Lucassen

Map of Ghent


Chapter 1. Postwar Mediterranean migration to the city of Ghent
Chapter 2. Integration processes of immigrants in the local labour market and the workplace
Chapter 3. Immigrant workers’ relations with colleagues and employers
Chapter 4. Integration processes of immigrants in the local housing market and the neighbourhood
Chapter 5. Immigrants’ social relations with neighbours

Quantitative appendix

List of interviews

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