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WPS No.04 | Vermeulen, F., Minkoff, D. & Meer, T. van der (2014) The Survival of Immigrant Organizations. Acquiring Socio-Political Legitimacy in Amsterdam Neighborhoods, 2002-2012

Although social organizations are considered a vital aspect of life in urban neighborhoods, little research examines how neighborhood context influences organizational vitality. Focusing on the case of immigrant organizations in Amsterdam, this paper thus looks into the interplay of organizational and neighborhood characteristics on organizational survival over time.

Employing multilevel analysis on original official registration data, we investigate which features give organizations an advantage in an uncertain political and social environments as well as which neighborhood characteristics influence the ability of organizations to remain active sponsors of immigrant group interests. We conclude that neighborhood context – measured in terms of socioeconomic affluence, the density and diversity of social organization, and rates of political participation – has no substantial influence on the failure rates of immigrant organizations in Amsterdam.

We take this as provisional evidence that the residential environment may not be a relevant source of institutional material or resources for organizational action by immigrant community-based organizations, in part because these organizations are not necessarily bound to a single neighborhood.

Rather, organizational characteristics that enhance the embeddedness and legitimacy of immigrant organizations among the immigrant constituency (cognitive legitimacy) and external actors (socio-political legitimacy) appear to be much more important in understanding the ability of local groups to remain active over long periods of time.


This Working Paper is no longer available. The published version is available in Sage Journals.