Exploring assimilation as a combination of objective and subjective processes: A case study of rural-to-urban migrants in China
This paper explores assimilation as a two-path process, in which its objective and subjective components are studied simultaneously using structural equation modeling for rural-to-urban migrants in China. This model considers the choice of reference group by the migrants themselves and the assimilation process into the reference group. Structural equation modeling results show that it can be beneficial for assimilation studies to allow migrants to choose their own reference group and to include the subjective path (i.e., assimilation into the migrants’ chosen reference group) along with the objective path (i.e., assimilation into the mainstream). This can be achieved as follows: (1) The intertwining between the subjective and objective paths can disentangle assimilation into a process driven by two forces; (2) major stratification factors affecting the objective path through the subjective path may be identified; and (3) the impacts of assimilation on important migrant outcomes, such as subjective well-being, can be studied and separated into subjective and objective components.
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