Home Sociology Integration Processes and Policies in Europe
Route 2a: Legal Immigrants and Target of Integration Policy
The group of immigrants that is allowed formal access becomes legal and a target of integration policy. Particular measures in current integration and immigration policy practice appear to spotlight female migrants (on women marriage migrants, see Bonjour and De Hart 2013; on gender inequality as an ethnicized problem see Roggeband and Verloo 2007; Prins and Saharso 2008), while migrant masculinity is often problematized (Van der Haar 2013; Scheibelhofer 2012). Bonjour and De Hart (2013) suggest that the Netherlands' policymaking on marriage migration is shaped by the idea of transnational marriages being fraudulent and forced, and (Muslim) migrant women being the victims of these practices. Scheibelhofer (2012) sets out how the image of an “archaic migrant masculinity” is used to legitimate restrictive migration laws in Austria: the human capital, norms, and values of migrant men have become criteria for their classification as wanted or unwanted. The general discourse that becomes clear from the abovementioned studies is that women migrants need to be protected by the “receiving state”, whereas migrant men mainly need to be controlled. In these cases, “marked identities” (Yanow 2003) again based on homogenized social categories like race/ethnicity, gender, class, and religion (often replicated in research as static analytical categories) are reproduced. Furthermore, negative and pejorative assumptions about groups are especially highlighted, resulting in a singling out of particular immigrants to be targeted by particular measures.
Religion and most certainly Islam is another important factor in prioritizing women migrants as a target group in policies. These women are associated with problems ranging from honour related violence, forced and arranged marriages, genital mutilation, and domestic violence to low labour market participation. Migrant women with a Muslim background are portrayed as victims of patriarchal cultures informed by Islam. As many European states perceive themselves as liberal, these women are targeted in family-related migration policies and integration policies that aim to transmit norms of gender equality (see Bonjour and De Hart 2013 on the Netherlands; for a comparative study on seven EU countries, see Kofman et al. 2013). But again, assumptions about class, in the form of low education and backwardness, are used to legitimize restrictions in family migration and strict measures of cultural assimilation into the destination society through state integration policies. Razack (2004), for example, argues that Norway's culturalist approach to forced marriages enables the stigmatization and surveillance of Muslim communities and feeds the idea of European superiority. The assumed causalities in the diagnoses underlying policy issues may thus have highly exclusionary consequences.
Critical scholars have stressed the risk of homogenizing, and hereby essentializing, identities in policy and research (e.g., Rath 1991; Ghorashi 2006; Schinkel 2007; Bertossi and Duyvendak 2012; Jacobs and Rea 2012). The main concern is that categories defined in policies at the supranational or state level produce or reinforce stereotypes that foster prejudices and potential discrimination. The following examples show how the dichotomy allochthon and autochthon and subcategories in the Netherlands and Flanders have produced durable stereotypes. These stereotypes are products of the formal policy chain and—as Massey (2007) reminds us—affect private life, but are increasingly contested by the children and grandchildren of immigrants.
“Allochthon” and its counterpart “autochthon” have taken on a for-granted character in Dutch and Flemish politics, administration, and society (Jacobs and Rea 2012; Van der Haar and Yanow 2011; De Zwart 2012). However, changes are visible at the local level, at the insistence of a new generation of “allochthones”. The city of Ghent, for instance, declared the twin concepts “dead and buried” on the international day against racism (Severs 2014). This marked the official end of the allochthon-autochthon distinction in the administrative jargon of the municipality.
Since the 1980s, the Netherlands has developed an international reputation as a multicultural society due in part to its efforts to promote integration of ethnic minorities while also enabling them to maintain their culture. This resulted in groupspecific policies for the largest immigrant groups, among them Turks, Moroccans, Surinamese, Antilleans, Moluccans, and Southern Europeans (Vermeulen and Penninx 2000). Both the general term “ethnic minorities” and its various subcategories became deeply rooted in daily life, though they have not gone uncontested by substantial numbers of the people labelled in these terms. For instance, during a local election rally in March 2014, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch populist right-wing party PVV, asked the gathered crowd whether there should be “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. In an indignant response, Dutch citizens of Moroccan descent started a Twitter campaign under the hashtag “BornHere”. They posted “selfies” defiantly showing their Dutch passports. In the ensuing days, Dutch politicians, organizational leaders, comedians, and individual citizens of Moroccan descent mobilized and filed thousands of discrimination complaints against Wilders. This attracted wide support of the established white political elite in praise of the outspoken Moroccan-Dutch activism. This activism takes on even greater symbolic weight in light of Morocco's citizenship law: Moroccans cannot renounce their Moroccan passport. The Dutch-Moroccan activists thus made a public choice for the Netherlands. They were fed up with being seen as Moroccan. Ethnic minority students at academic institutions across Western countries, such as Harvard, Oxford, and the University of Amsterdam launched a similar campaign: “I too am [name of the university].” Here, ethnic minority students were portrayed holding handwritten signs quoting implicit or explicit discriminatory comments they experienced on a daily basis (e.g., on forced marriage, skin colour, and language skills).7
The message is clear: the children and grandchildren of immigrants represent a new generation of highly educated and eloquent citizens who no longer accept being seen as second-class citizens judged merely on their immigrant backgrounds. They are not different. The #BornHere and “I too” campaigns point to the development of stereotypes based on assumptions of a poorly integrated first-generation immigrant who lived in a parallel society and aimed to return home as soon as possible. These are not stand-alone examples, but are part of a broader ethnic minority stance against being seen and treated as outsiders by the majority population, “even after two generations” (Andriessen et al. 2007, 107; Entzinger and Dourleijn 2008 cited by De Zwart 2012, 312).
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