Public and academic debates and their weaknesses

Main debates and conceptions of inclusion and integration of migrants in the 20th century in Europe:

It is important to understand that changes in political and social contexts  changes in attitudes towards newcomers.

1945-80s Early 90s Late 90s
– Political commitment to democracy
– Impulse to think inclusively
– Concentration on cultural diversity for the integration of migrants
BUT
– Cultural difference is not equally understood across Europe
– The leading principle on integration is citizenship
– Focus on the active citizenship of ethnic minorities
– ‘New realism’: ethnic minorities are expected to learn the language and adopt norms and values of the society.
–  Integration understood as a question of identity.

Diversity defined as ethnicity

  • Narrow definitions of diversity and identity; limited to ethnicity.
  • Aspects such as socioeconomic background, gender, age, language… are NOT CONSIDERED.

Stigmatising cultural dichotomies

  • Cultural diversity is approached negatively, not as an opportunity.
  • Two views on immigration:
    • As a long-term process where people find their way
    • Immigration as a problem. Negative relationship between city, immigration and integration

Negative approach to cultural diversity

  • Danger of using cultural dichotomies for social cohesion.
  • The construction of difference may stigmatise a whole group for ages.

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