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Thursday, July 17, 2003

The Generation Gap: Part III

I can't believe it. After all my trials and tribulations with interviews, I find that my own son had actually beaten me to it. Not only that, he's trying to tell me how to do it. Skeptics of the 'youth premium' be warned! Still, despite my advanced age, I'm doing my best.

By the way that has also been an observation of mine. When i meet and talk to my mates I've noticed that those immigrants whose dads are businessmen (in other words entrepreneurs (which is what all immigrants are in a way)) quite often tend to have a closer relationship with the white community and quite a few (i'm informed) had white girlfriends in their younger days.

The best example of this is my friend neepa. Her dad is pretty bloody loaded (i'm talking millionaires here) and she has mentioned to me a few times that he nearly married an english woman when he was younger (this betrays her underlying emotions about this i feel... the fact she has brought it up a few times especially as she probably thinks her parents would dissaprove of a white boy friend... and don't even mention the idea of a black boy-friend..........

I think this is a success, or probably a class, thing. I mean the guys who step off the boat and can't speak a word of english are less inclined to integrate (cos they can't and these guys end up working in the kitchens of the indian restaurants) whereas those with a bit more nonce about em (the indian delboys so to speak) who can talk the lingo and are probably a bit better educated tend to be the guys who set up their own businesses and make a bit of cash etc. but it is in their interests to mix a bit more and they (i think) are more inclined to do so which is why only a certain type of immigrant tends to marry the locals..Its a personality type in my opinion.

Furthermore, the really educated bunch (like the doctors) who come over never marry english wives (cos usually they are already married to similar professionals) and again i reckon this is a personality type thing. They hold on to their belief (and each other) more as a way of protecting their identity than abandoning it and changing (which is a trait of successful entrepreneurs.... the ability to adapt to the environment and change as neccessary.... in fact this applies to all living creatures and intelligence itself!). Change is of course necessary in every sense!

With regard to the internet cafe, I think if they wanna intergrate the youngsters forget all the other stuff, school should sort that out with time. Homogenise them all thru the same education. I mean they will eat the same infomercials from tv, use the same msn, enjoy the breakdown of their respective religions (oh sorry- did the enlightenment leave out Bulgaria and spain)------ and by the time they are all 25 they will probably realise there is in fact very little that they don't have in common. This may then rub off on their own kids!

BTW the really bitchin part of the interviews is not the interview itself... which is usually fun in my experience, but rather the transcribing. I mean what are you looking to get from these interviews? Are you gonna try to formalise your findings or are they just gonna remain a bunch of in depth thick descriptions with reference to quotes every few lines? I take it these are open/ semi structured interviews in which case you have to just keep your mouth shut or else you are gonna lead the interviewee and their answers are limited in usefulness. Besides you should always be asking yourself how generalisable are my results (for me this is bloody important)... are your findings only going to apply to a small community in the middle of spain?? With any qualitative research (which is what i'm assuming your doing) there is always a toss up between internal and external validities and at the end of the day, being a scientist by nature, i find it difficult to take seriously any research that relies heavily on interviews to provide a meaningful long term solution to anything that is robust and generalisable (and don't take this personally i am talking about my own project here as well, which will probably get published in some form).

BTW I find interviewing the most interesting part as you actually get insight and then can reflect on the stuff you talked about which leads to more theorising. Just remeber the reflexive role of the researcher etc (you know about stuff like the hawthorne effect and the experiments carried out by the general elctric company in the early 20's i think it was?).

BTW, it's clear he's asking me all the right questions, what to do with the findings, thick descriptions or more analytical, the relations between the interviews and the model etc etc. You see, he's been through all this just two months ago. Now I am the one who is learning. Still, my interviews are getting better.

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