Chapter 8: Intercultural integration: a new paradigm for managing diversity as an advantage
During the past decade, Europe has been swept by a wave of disaffection with diversity and integration policies under the label of ‘multiculturalism’. The financial crisis has weakened the position of central governments and sharpened language-based regionalisms or local identity politics in many states. Diversity is often portrait in political discourse and media as a factor of division and disintegration (Hartmann and Husband, 1974; van Dijk and Teun, 1993). Much of the dominant public discourse on integration of migrants portray them essentially as a cost to society and the efforts to include them in society – as motivated by an ethics of hospitality. Integration has been presented by some of the media as a zero-sum game – resources spent on migrants, refugees and their families, jobs taken by them, are taken away from other people. But this is not the entire story. In many local communities the story of integration is one of cohesion and ‘positive contamination of cultures’, to use the expression of Graziano Delrio, Mayor of Reggio Emilia, in Italy (interview for the programme Intercultural Cities, 2008).
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