den Besten, O. (2008) Mapping emotions: how children with different immigration backgrounds experience and picture their Parisian and Berliner neighbourhoods. Paper presented to: International Conference "Children and Migration: Identities, Mobilities and Belonging(s)", University College, Cork, Ireland, 9-11 April 2008.
The paper draws a comparison between children with different types of immigration backgrounds: first generation immigrants, recently arrived to Paris or Berlin; second generation immigrants, and finally, children coming from expatriate, transnational families. On the whole, 12 school classes from 8 city areas took part in the study, and the children’s perception of their neighbourhoods was explored with the help of a questionnaire and children’s subjective maps. It is argued that different immigration backgrounds can actually produce different emotional geographies, and that the types of immigration backgrounds are closely connected with the phenomenon of residential and educational segregation. Thus, second generation immigrant children who participated in the research, are located in the disadvantaged areas and lack access to extracurricular activities and the city’s cultural life that their peers from expatriate families enjoy. In Berlin, not speaking their host country’s language properly is a major hindrance on the education ladder for immigrant children, while for children from transnational families being bilingual is an advantage and a guarantee of access to excellent education in future. One of the ways to bridge the gap between these very different experiences in education can be in creating separate language classes for newly-arrived children, with the perspective of their further integration into the full school curriculum. This is discussed based on the example of the CASNAV, French organisation which deals with placement of recently arrived children into schools