Integration, cultural preservation and transnationalism through state supported immigrant organizations: a study of Sweden’s national ethnic associations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the activities of Swedish state supported ethnic associations (most of which are immigrant organizations), thus shedding empirical light on how immigrants organize with the help of state support, both nationally and transnationally, in a welfare state context. The paper is based on a study of annual reports of 52 state supported national associations, representing more than a thousand (1046) local immigrant organizations, as well as 17 interviews with representatives of the said organizations. The findings indicate that the welfare state did not crowd out civil societal integration-promoting initiatives, but the state supported immigrant organizations came to occupy a niche in which they primarily offered complementary services with the aim of helping members to navigate the public welfare system. Neither did state support directly shape the content and direction of the political activities of the said organizations. However, the state support seems to have generated welfare channeling effects, in that more immigrant organizations came into existence than would have been the case in the absence of grants. The paper comes down in favor of the thesis that state support in some circumstances can promote political incorporation through immigrant organizations (with a few caveats). Finally, the paper proposes a hypothetical mechanism, homeland-oriented integration, for political incorporation through immigrant organization.
Translated title of the contributionIntegration, kulturbevarande aktiviteter och transnationalism genom statsstödda invandrarorganisationer: En studie av Sveriges etniska riksförbund
Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Number of pages20
JournalComparative Migration Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sep 25

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • Immigration
  • Integration of adaptation and mitigation
  • Immigrant organizations
  • Transnationalism

Cite this