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Integration Policies

The multilevel dynamics of migrant integration policies have been very different from those of immigration policies. Rather than the turn towards Europe described above, a “local turn” seems primarily at play. This involves a shift away from historically rooted models of integration strongly related to nationally specific models of identity and belonging (see also Ireland 1994). Such models would imply, in our typology, strongly state-centric (centralist) modes of governance. Brubaker (1992), for instance, shows that French and German policies have their respective roots in deep historic notions of the French “Staatsvolk” (ius soli) and German “Volksstaat” (ius sanguinis). This idea of national models of integration has been strong not just in policy but also in academic discourse (for a critical discussion see Bertossi 2011; Bertossi et al. 2015; Joppke 2007). Yet, as argued earlier, this has led to an overemphasis on differences between national integration models, such as the British racerelations model, the German differentialist model, the French Republicanist model, and the Dutch multiculturalist model.

The politicization of migrant integration that took place in many European countries in the 1990s and 2000s revealed the resiliency of such national models. In this period, there was a revival of ideas of cultural integration, especially in national political and policy discourses. Throughout Europe this led to policy initiatives that strengthened the importance of national history, culture, values, and norms in relation to immigrant integration. For example, during this period the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the UK introduced civic integration programmes including tests of basic knowledge about society. Joppke and Morawska (2003) speak in this respect of an assimilationist turn in migrant integration policies.

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