Cultural Identification Among Immigrants from the Former USSR: Insights from Comparative Research with Five Groups in Germany and Israel

  • Katharina Sonnenberg
  • Peter F. Titzmann
  • Rainer K. Silbereisen
Part of the Societies and Political Orders in Transition book series (SOCPOT)


The chapter presents a comparative study on immigrants’ cultural identification with the majority in their country of settlement and with their minority background. We focused on diaspora immigrants who after the fall of communist regimes left the former USSR and immigrated either to Germany (i.e., ethnic Germans) or to Israel (i.e., Russian Jews) and compared them with Russian Jewish refugees in Germany, Turks in Germany, and the Arab minority in Israel. Results point to considerable group differences in majority and minority identification that seemed to be due to country of settlement, groups’ (legal) status, and distance to the cultural mainstream in terms of religion. Individual assets such as finances and high-status social networks added to the prediction of majority identification. Moreover, higher identification was related to higher engagement in terms of language, attitudes, and peer contacts, both with respect to majority and minority culture. Taken together, the results suggest that contextual factors play a major role in the adaptation process of former USSR immigrants.


Cultural identification Diaspora immigrants Refugees Ethnic Germans Russian Jews Germany Israel Religion Engagement with majority and minority culture 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katharina Sonnenberg
    • 1
  • Peter F. Titzmann
    • 2
  • Rainer K. Silbereisen
    • 3
  1. 1.FernUniversitätHagenGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz UniversityHannoverGermany
  3. 3.University of JenaJenaGermany

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