Home Sociology Integration Processes and Policies in Europe
Once we have identified the main policy frames and policy measures, the next question is how integration policies are organized and implemented. Regarding organization, two aspects are relevant. The first is whether the implementation of policies by civil servants and other actors is directly steered and controlled by politics or whether there is a relatively large gap between politics and policy. In highly politicized contexts, what politicians say and what actually is being done may differ significantly. The second aspect of concern is the location of the initiating and coordinating force for migrant integration within the governmental administration: Is it centrally located and coordinated by a specific ministry or department (i.e., home affairs, social affairs, or employment)? Or is it decentrally organized across all of the areas relevant to integration policies. Such questions also apply to regional and local policies (Caponio and Borkert 2010).
If we want to examine not only how policies are organized but also how they are formulated and implemented, we should shift the focus from government to governance. This means taking into account a wider range of actors, including other administrative levels such as regional and local governments; other institutions, agencies, and practitioners within the state apparatus; and other relevant actors, such as politicians, NGOs, and private institutions. The vertical dimension of integration policymaking, that is, the relationship between the national, regional, and local levels, is of particular importance, as both municipalities and the European Union (EU) level have become increasingly involved in the making of immigrant policies. This multiplicity of levels should be analysed in detail so as to understand how new tensions have come to the fore but also how new alliances and forms of cooperation (e.g., between the local and the EU level) have developed. Various key questions can be asked: Who is in charge of integration policies? How are the different levels coordinated? Do they respond to different political and social imperatives? Do they complement or contradict one another?
Also to be considered is the horizontal dimension of integration policymaking, meaning whether and how integration policies are implemented by the full range of relevant actors, from private institutions to NGOs, immigrant organizations, and professionals. The central question here is who is supposed to be a relevant actor in policies. With respect to immigrants, are individual immigrants seen as primary actors? Are their organizations and other collective and institutional resources regarded as relevant? Looking at the receiving society, what main actors are involved, again at the individual, organizational, and institutional levels? Research on Southern Europe has shown that when governmental integration policies are absent, civil society actors (such as trade unions, NGOs, charities, and civil movement associations) may become key in providing various services and offering political support for immigrants' rights claims (Campomori 2005; Zincone 1998). At the same time, as noted by Caponio (2005), such mobilization may produce a “crowding out” effect wherein native associations mobilizing on behalf of immigrants actually become the main recipients of municipal funding and partners in policymaking. Immigrants may thus be prevented from forming their own organizations.
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