Personal networks and ethnic identifications: The case of migrants in Spain

Miranda J. Lubbers*, José Luis Molina, Christopher McCarty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates whether personal networks influenced ethnic self-identifications of migrants in Spain. During the years 2004-6, data were collected about personal networks of migrants in Spain (N = 294) through a questionnaire and a structured interview. The networks were classified into five network profiles on the basis of both variables about structure (e.g. density, betweenness and number of cohesive subgroups) and composition (e.g. country of origin and percentage of family members). Profiles were related to the different ways in which migrants identified themselves. Personal networks in which network members, mostly family and people from the country of origin, formed one dense cluster were associated with ethnic exclusive self-identifications, whereas more heterogeneous personal networks tended to exhibit more plural definitions of belonging. The results show that both individual and network characteristics contribute to an understanding of ethnic self-identification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-741
JournalInternational Sociology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007


  • Ethnicity
  • Migration
  • Personal network analysis
  • Social networks


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