chapter  2
20 Pages

Money or Education? Improvement Strategies Among Pakistani Families in Denmark

ByMikkel Rytter

Tracing life stories and family histories back to rural Punjab, I explore the development

and processes of upward social mobility of the Pakistani community in Denmark from

the 1960s onwards. I suggest that social mobility among Pakistani immigrants and their

descendants must be seen as the outcome of a village-like immigrant community’s fierce

competition for symbolic capital and recognition within the context of changing social

and economic conditions in Denmark. While the Pakistani immigrants primarily found

unskilled factory work during the 1960s and 1970s, the economic recession and

restructuring of the Danish labour market during the late 1970s and 1980s pushed them

into two different long-term strategies of money or education respectively. This created a

split in the Pakistani community between educated and non-educated families and

shaped the second generation’s way of life in terms of, for example, marriage

arrangements or notions of identity and belonging.