Hi! I’m Frank van Tubergen, full professor of sociology at Utrecht University.
I study the integration of immigrants and their children in western countries. I’m passionate about this topic, for two reasons.
First, because of societal relevance: when you ask people what they worry most about in their society, many say things like “immigration”, “refugee crisis” and “polarization”. But, despite its importance, public discussions and policies of immigration can sometimes become ideological and biased. Scholars like me have an important role to play, namely to provide the general public and policy makers with the scientific facts about immigration and integration. What’s really happening? Why? And which policies are effective?
The second reason is scientific relevance. The topic of immigration and integration is incredibly diverse and raises many complicated scientific questions. For example: how do ethnic group boundaries emerge? What are the conditions that promote and hamper acquiring a second language? What happens to immigrant children who are born in a secular country like the Netherlands, but whose parents were raised very religiously?
Hence, I like to think that the societal and scientific relevance come together in the study of immigration and integration.