Edited by Gary P. Freeman and Nikola Mirilovic
Chapter 18: Civic integration in Europe: continuity versus discontinuity
This chapter reviews civic integration policies for immigrants in Western Europe. The novelty of the policy seems to be at least twofold. First, integration is no longer left to the free play of society’s institutions, such as the labor market or education, but is subjected to efforts to bring it under conscious, concerted state control. In that respect, civic integration is tantamount to the rise of state-led integration as such, replacing a previous reign of laissez-faire (complemented by mostly local interventions). Second, civic integration combines measures that further the integration of immigrants with their selection and control – in a nutshell, integration and immigration policy are no longer separate domains. However, the claim of novelty and comprehensiveness of the policy have been challenged from at least two angles that will be scrutinized in this chapter: ● There is disagreement about the continuation of national models of integration, or whether the similarities of the policy across states outweigh national variation. Some have argued that civic integration signals the end of national models of integration, while others have argued that nationally distinct approaches to integration continue under new cover. ● There is disagreement about the relationship between national-level and local-level policies. Civic integration is a national-level policy, which (at least rhetorically) marks a sharp departure from previously more gentle-minded, multicultural policies (or non-policies and laissez faire in countries that never had official multiculturalism policies).
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