Category Archives: COMPAS

Cities acting for migration

The Columbia Global Policy Initiative has made a submission about the role of cities to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration in relation to the Global Compact for Migration. It includes this claim:

local authorities and mayors in particular play a crucial role in framing greater diversity as a complex but fundamentally fruitful outcome of globalization.

This claim is referenced with a citation to a report I co-wrote: Elizabeth Collett & Ben Gidley, ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford, Attitudes to Migrants, Communication and Local Leadership
(AMICALL) — Final Transnational Report (2012) see at https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/media/PR-2012-AMICALL_Transnational.pdf .

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Action for Inclusion

Caroline Oliver has written a COMPAS blogpost on the Action for Inclusion in Europe project we are working on. Here is the opening:

You’ve had to deal with 30,000 refugees?….in the region?’

‘No…in the city’

This was how a ‘getting-to-know-you’ conversation began two weeks ago, as six senior officials responsible for migrants’ educational achievement at city or municipal level arrived in Hamburg for a new COMPAS initiative. We were meeting at one of a series of short but intensive action-oriented meetings, aimed at bringing together city officials working on migrant parental involvement in young people’s education, in order to develop plans for tangible reform in their policy or practice.

This activity is part of a wider body of new work at COMPAS, the Action for Inclusion in Europe Initiative, funded by the Open Society Initiative for Europe. In early October, we began with an Autumn Academy, for a five day residential workshop that brought together 19 policy officers and practitioners from European city authorities, an International Governmental Organisation and NGO. All were working in various capacities on migrant integration.

Over recent weeks, other thematic working groups were held that engaged senior officials working on migrant homelessness and civic participation, as well as last week’s event on migrant parental engagement in schools. The events have reached 35 participants from 26 European cities, including representatives from Antwerp, Aarhus, Birmingham, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Ghent, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Rotterdam, Torino and Vienna among others.

new_logo_exchangeSo what were we doing? The process has been guided by a broad principle of ‘knowledge exchange’ central to the work of the new arm of COMPAS, the Global Exchange in Migration and Diversity. This knowledge exchange involves COMPAS researchers or associates (including myself, Ben Gidley, Jonathan Price and Sarah Spencer). Throughout the events, we offer insights from academic research, frame key themes and debates in the topics of the working groups and facilitate city participants to collectively consider their experiences in practice.

READ THE REST.


Blogging migration research

All of my COMPAS blogposts, which I have featured on this website, have now been migrated to the new COMPAS website and archived in one place. Here they are, with links to the new permanent url:

Continue reading


Researching migration

Here are most of the reports I published during my six years at COMPAS:

 

Reports

Other Publications

Breakfast Briefing

How do local authorities deal with super-diversity?

Ben Gidley and Mette Louise Berg

Breakfast Briefing

Who are Britain’s new citizens?

Ben Gidley


The right to have rights: children and destitution

My June COMPAS blogpost was on safeguarding children from destitution. The original is here. This is an extract.

The legal framework that governs how a child in Britain with migrant parents can access welfare rights is incredibly complex: on the one hand, a century of immigration and nationality legislation that has created a seemingly endless proliferation of statuses and entitlements short of those of full citizens; on the other hand, the sedimentation of case law, of European and UK legislation on the rights of children and families, and the heritage of a welfare system based on universal provision.

foldersWhile public opinion deals in terms such as “illegal migrant” and “bogus asylum seeker”, for service providers working with migrant families, the categories are infinitely more complicated. An alphabet soup of acronyms and initials that specify who has rights to which benefits – NRPF, s17, ARE, ILR, LLR, DVR, and many more – spell out the formula by which a family may claim housing benefit or carers allowance, or not, and under which conditions. Navigating this complexity is left to local authorities, and specifically to the frontline workers (“street level bureaucrats”, as they are called in the research literature) tasked with granting or denying families access to the welfare state.

Researching the right to have rights

Understanding how this works in practice – how different categories of migrant families do or don’t access social rights – has been a key question for researchers at COMPAS for some time now. A series of projects have explored this for different groups. Undocumented Children in the UK, funded by Barrow Cadbury, explored experiences and everyday lives of irregular migrant children in the United Kingdom, including experiences of schooling and pathways to work. Service provision to irregular migrants in Europe, funded by the Open Society Foundations, explored the extent of, and rationales for, entitlements to service provision for migrants with irregular immigration status in EU countries, mapping entitlements to health and education for both children and adults with irregular migration status (see the blogpost by Sarah Spencer and Nicola Delvino on the Italian part of the research). An OSF-funded pilot study explored city-level responses to those without entitlement, focusing on Berlin and Madrid (see Jonathan Price’s blogpost here). Exploring Migration: Research and Drama in Schools used drama and the findings of the ‘Undocumented Migrant Children in the UK’ project to explore how school students understand issues around irregular migrants (see Ida Persson’s blogpost here). Continue reading


Some news items

Some items from May’s COMPAS newsletter:

 

Autumn Academy: Residential course on cities and integration
As part of the Action for Inclusion in Europe project COMPAS is running a five day residential course in Oxford, 5 – 9 October 2015, on cities and integration for practitioners and local policy makers working at city level. The course will cover a variety of issues including the role of cities and their partners in integration and the different approaches to policy intervention across Europe. See here for details and how to apply. Extended Deadline for application, 22 June 2015. [I am the course director for this.]

Breakfast Briefings
The COMPAS Breakfast Briefings Series continues its 5th session. The briefings present topical, cutting edge research on migration and migration related issues. These events are by invitation only, but if you would like to attend, just get in touch! In July the Migration Observatory team will talk about what the 2015 election means for migration to the UK.

UK Launch of MIPEX 2015
COMPAS is hosting the UK launch of MIPEX 2015, a global index of integration policy, on the afternoon of 11 June, in London. The last edition of the index was published in 2010 when the UK scored in the top 10. Five years later, after a period of fiscal austerity and changed political priorities, find out how Britain compares with other countries in areas such as citizenship, anti-discrimination, family reunion, migrant workers’ rights and the education of immigrant children. Coming shortly after the election and looking back over the five years of the previous parliament, the debate at the launch event will clarify the integration agenda for the coming parliament.

City Working Groups
This is a second initiative of the Action for Inclusion in Europe project. The City Working Groups element of this project aims to secure tangible reforms in city practices in Europe that address the exclusion of marginal communities via action-oriented learning exchange. Three working groups are being set up, each focusing on a particular area of city- or municipal-level policy and practice: 

  • Cohesion and belonging: building a shared civic identity [convened by Ben Gidley]
  • Education: engaging parents for better outcomes [convened by Caroline Oliver]
  • Homelessness: solutions for excluded migrants [convened by Jonathan Price]

DCLG integration round tables
As an initiative of the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity, Sarah Spencer and Ben Gidley co-organised three closed-door roundtables on integration processes and integration policy with the Integration and Faith Division of the UK’s Department of Communities and Local Government, hosted at their London office. The aim was to inform understanding and stimulate debate on integration processes, outcomes and policy interventions. Three experts were commissioned to produce briefings on key evidence questions for each session: Professor Andrew Thompson, Varun Uberoi and Will Somerville on key concepts; Professor Anthony Heath, Nissa Finney and Professor Linda Platt on integration outcomes; and Professor Miles Hewstone, Professor Jenny Philimore and Vidhya Ramalingam on what works. The briefings are available on our website. Ben and Vidhya participated in a further informal workshop at the DCLG, giving evidence on what works in combating extremism.

Project Upstream
Upstream, a research project on municipal migrant integration policies across Europe whose UK research is led by Ole Jensen and Ben Gidley, will conclude this summer. The project’s new website is launching at projectupstream.wordpress.com. The website will soon feature Ole’s report on how UK cities are mainstreaming migrant education and social cohesion, and Ben’s report on comparing practices across Europe. In March 2015, COMPAS hosted a UK policy roundtable with participation from local and national government officials, and organised a study visit by integration experts from the city of Barcelona, hosted by the London Borough of Southwark and welcomed by the Mayor of Southwark (see Southwark press release).

Events and talks

  • Ben Gidley contributed to a major parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism, held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. Ben was invited to give oral evidence to the inquiry, and then commissioned to write a sub-report to aid its deliberations. Ben’s sub-report focused on antisemitism in relation to protests during the conflict and was quoted extensively in the inquiry’s final report.
  • Ben Gidley was invited to speak at the Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London in April; his talk was entitled “I’m not racist but some of my best friends are: Paradoxes of xenophobia and structures of disavowal”.
  • In addition, Ben was invited to deliver a one-day intensive “MobilityLab” at Bilkent University in Ankara on migrant integration. The Lab series was organised by Professors Saime Ozcurumez and Can Mutlu of the Departments of Political Science and Public Administration and International Relations at Bilkent, with the support of the British embassy in Ankara.
  • In May, Mette Louise Berg and Ben Gidley were invited speakers at CRASSH in Cambridge; their talk was entitled “Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity: rethinking the ethnography of superdiversity at the margins of the city”.
  • In the same month Ben hosted a study visit by Year 8 students from King Solomon High School in Ilford, as part of, “Jewish Migration Routes: From East End to Essex”,  an intergenerational oral history project led by Eastside Community Heritage, funded by the Rothschild Foundation Europe. The project explores Jewish migration into and out of the East End of London and Essex.
  • In October, Ben was also an invited speaker at the I International Conference on Cultural Diversity and Conflicts in the EU at the University of Valencia; his paper was entitled “Understanding conflict and conviviality in diverse European urban neighbourhoods: putting human rights and social justice back into the integration debate”.
  • At the end of April, Caroline Oliver spoke at the Key Concepts Roundtables series at the Institute for Superdiversity (IRiS) at Birmingham University. She spoke on “Intersectionality and superdiversity: What’s the difference?” together with Eleonore Kofman, Middlesex University and Ann Phoenix, Institute of Education.
  • Ida Persson and Vanessa Hughes participated in the Goldsmith’s Grad Fest 2015. The students from Capital City Academy who participated in the “Exploring Migration: Research and Drama in Schools” project revived their performance of “Undocumented Migrant Children’s Lives and Stories” for the festival. In June Ida and Vanessa will start work for this project with primary school students in Birmingham.

Upstream: On the mainstreaming of EAL provision in England

The COMPAS blog has posted a piece by Ole Jensen,  based on our Upstream research project. This is an extract.

[…]

My daughter’s primary school had its Ofsted inspection last month. With 87% EAL children – and the majority of these of Pakistani heritage – the ghost of the Trojan Horse had arrived, and the school management had done their homework on British values. I was one of four governors taking part in a group interview, incidentally illustrating the ethnic diversity of the school: One White British governor, one South Asian-Pakistani, one South Asian-Indian, one White Other. As it happened, all went well, the feared Ofsted inspectors proved entirely agreeable, and we are still ‘Good’. Continue reading


Servicing super-diversity

This is my latest COMPAS blog post. You can read the original here. The photos are by me.

In the 1890s, philanthropist Charles Booth and a team of assistants – the pioneers of sociological research in the UK – walked the whole of London, visually noting the wealth of each street’s inhabitants, to construct their Maps Descriptive of London Poverty. The maps coded streets by colour, with scarlet red and gold marking the “well-to-do” and the “wealthy”, dark blue and black representing the “casual poor” in “chronic want” and the
“vicious and semi-criminal” “lowest class”. Southwark, just across the Thames from the City of London, was a mass of dark colours.

A hundred years later, the New Labour government created an Index of Multiple Deprivation to map new forms of poverty, dark blue for most deprived and gold for least. Again, the northern wards of Southwark were swathed in darkness, with the area around Elephant and Castle especially dark blue.

article-2417820-1BC29DA8000005DC-217_634x428

More recently, the estate agents Savills has produced a different map of London, with dark blue representing areas where house prices were declining, and Booth’s scarlet red now used to mark zones moving “upmarket”. This time, in what the Economist called “the great inversion”, the former dark zones of Southwark had become vivid red property hotspots.

Elephant and Castle, in the heart of this area, exemplifies London’s sharp changes: commercial student housing, warehousing study migrants from the rising powers of Eastern Asia; luxury pied a terres in developments in a rebranded “South Central” quarter; social housing redevelopments that result in the decanting of long-term residents out to London’s far suburbs; a growing hub for Latin American enterprise.

Super-diversity at the local level

Elephant and Castle is also the site of a COMPAS project, Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity. This project, along with an ESRC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship, were the source for February’s COMPAS Breakfast Briefing, presented by my COMPAS colleague Mette Louise Berg and me. We asked “How do local authorities deal with the increasing diversity of their clients and residents?” The Powerpoint presentation is online, and podcast and summary are coming soon.

IMG_3525_elephant_arches

Mette opened by describing the concept of “super-diversity” at the heart of our project, the intensifying diversity of forms of difference concentrated in one place, as defined by COMPAS founder Stephen Vertovec. Vertovec’s work has opened up a research agenda that I have been pursuing with Nando Sigona, Mette Berg and other colleagues in the last half decade, with a conference in Oxford, a workshop in Birmingham, and an edited collection. It also informed a Home Office study on the varying impacts of migration in local areas (subject of a previous Breakfast Briefing by Jon Simmons), which included “super-diverse London” as one of its geographical clusters.

The Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity project, which also involves Caroline Oliver, Hiranthi Jayaweera and Rachel Humphris, as well as photographer Simon Rowe, takes this agenda forward by piloting ethnographic research on how diversity is patterned differently at different stages of the life course, and how this impacts on service provision in a super-diverse space.

Understanding Elephant

figure for BB blogpost

My contribution to the Breakfast Briefing was to present detailed census analysis done as part of the project by Anna Krausova, exploring different patterns of diversity across multiple axes of difference in an area circumscribed by a 1 mile radius from Elephant and Castle. Mette then presented some of the findings from the education and housing case studies of our qualitative research. Continue reading


Impact case study: Oxford research on integration and diversity

As this is now published on the REF2014 website, I have pasted here the impact case study submitted by Oxford’s Anthropology department to the Research Excellence Framework, which included my work alongside that of colleagues. [See licensing terms of use here. For related blogposts, going into detail about much of this research, see here.]  Continue reading


Global Exchange Integration and Integration Policy Roundtables

Over the last few months, Sarah Spencer and I have worked with the Department for Communities and Local Government to organise a series of roundtables on integration and integration policy. I tweeted a little about them under the hashtag #IntRT. The briefings are now all online here.


Understanding foreign fighters

This is a short version of my latest COMPAS blog post. Read the whole original here.

This summer, it emerged that a young woman brought up near where I live in Lewisham, South London, had travelled to Syria to join ISIS. I spent some time reading her Twitter interactions with other young British women with ISIS ion Syria and Iraq. Most of the Twitter accounts are now deleted, but on the whole they were little different from any tweets by any South London teenagers: written in the familiar shorthand of social media conversation (“LOL”, “c u l8er”), accounts of shopping trips, mentions of best friends, complaining when the wi-fi was poor, comments on the weather. But the Lewisham woman’s profile picture was of an infant boy, presumably her son, holding an AK-47. Sparsely interspersed among the banal chitchat, were casual references to meeting Yazadi slave women or to beheadings. And, in one of the last posts before the account went offline:

Any links 4 da execution of da journalist plz. Allahu Akbar. UK must b shaking up haha. I wna b da 1st UK woman 2 kill a UK or US terorist

Foreign fighters in ISIS and other jihadi groups are regularly reported in the news media, and our politicians have been increasingly talking tough about them. But what do we really know about them, about their profiles and motivations?

November’s COMPAS Breakfast Briefing addressed these questions. Our experts were Rachel Briggs, a Senior Policy Analyst with our Breakfast Briefing partner, the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), and Peter Neumann, a Professor of Security Studies at Kings College London, and the founding director there of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR). The evidence was based on a series of important and innovative research projects at ISD and ICSR (listed at the end of this post), using social media analysis and face-to-face encounters with foreign fighters to build up a rich picture of their actions and their networks.

As is our usual practice, the oral briefings are podcast on the COMPAS site, while the discussion afterwards was under Chatham House rules. In this blogpost, I briefly summarise the key points from the briefings, and then discuss some of the wider issues touched on in the discussion, before finishing with links to information on ICSR’s and ISD’s work in this field. You can listen to the podcast here. Continue reading


Citizenship and identity: The new Britons in an age of resurgent Englishness

This post of mine was published at the Politics In Spires website, as part of its Migration and Citizenship series:

Migration and Citizenship logo

In the 1990s, commentators across the political spectrum observed the rise of civic British national identity in the UK. Both the Major and Blair governments promoted “active citizenship” and rolled out polices such as Citizenship Ceremonies for the naturalised and citizenship education in schools – with the civic republican philosopher Bernard Crick a significant influence over many of these reforms. From a very different angle, the Britpop moment and “cool Britannia” brand made the Union Jack fashionable. A confident multiculturalism and relaxed, mongrel Britishness was part of the zeitgeist.

From the vantage point of 2014, that moment seems very distant. In the last decade, we have seen instead a resurgence of the infra-national identities of the UK’s constituent countries: the renaissance of Scottishness in Scotland, the rise of Welshness in Wales, and – much less reflected upon – the return of Englishness in England.

The return of the English

The 2011 Census included a national identity question. It showed that, in England, Englishness is the predominant national identity, expressed by two thirds of the population (with 58% choosing only English identity), while just 29% identify with Britishness (19% choosing only British identity).

For many, this kind of Englishness is probably expressed activities such as cheering on (or moaning at) English sporting teams. But we have also seen its political mobilisation: in resentment at Scottish power in Westminster, in the sinister street theatre of the English Defence League and its offshoots, and in the rise of UKIP.

It is important, however, to note the geographical and generational dynamics of this resurgent Englishness. In analysis of the 2011 Census I have done with Sundas Ali (soon to be published by the Government Office for Science’s Foresight Future of Cities programme), we found a band of “English cities”: cities with over 75% English-only and over 80% English-plus-other identification. These include Barnsley, Doncaster, Grimsby, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Southend, Stoke, Sunderland, Wakefield and Wigan – often ageing, post-industrial cities associated with the demographic Matthew Goodwin and Rob Ford identify as the “left behind”: older, whiter, less educated and more working class than the population as a whole.

Although many pundits have noted the “working classness” of the left behind, age is actually the most distinctive feature of UKIP’s support base. As Rob Ford has shown in other work, one of the social changes they have been left behind by is a massive generational transformation in attitudes to race, mixing and migration, with younger generations significantly more comfortable with mixed, inclusive, civic identities.

The new British

If we turn from the white majority, we can see that there are other sections of the population have embraced Britishness. As Lucinda Platt and others have shown, Britishness is especially common among migrants and minority ethnic populations – and in particular those from South Asian and/or Muslim groups – who are far more likely to identify as British than their white British neighbours are.

The “British cities” in the 2011 Census (with English-only identities at around 20% and British-only identities close to 40%) are multicultural places with long-settled migrant background populations, often with larger South Asian and/or Muslim communities: Blackburn, Bradford, Leicester, London and Luton. Within London, boroughs with long-settled minorities – Brent, Tower Hamlets and Harrow – have particularly high British-only identification.

And among this British minority, the most British of all seem to be new citizens. In a representative survey of the newly naturalised and failed naturalisation applicants (which I conducted with Dina Kiwan, Alessio Cangiano and Zoe Khor at the end of 2010), we found extremely high levels of national identification. 87% felt British, including 58% of respondents who felt British “a lot”, and only 10% felt “not very” or “not at all” British. A lower (though still significant) share of citizenship applicants (40%) felt English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish “a lot”.

There are several explanations for this. The migration studies literature consistently identifies mechanisms whereby the first generation invests emotionally in the receiving society, asking little of it and grateful for its hospitality (whereas the second generation, raised with the same aspirations as non-migrant peers, expects more and is consequently less satisfied). Clearly, too, those who apply for naturalisation may be motivated to enter the process partly because of their identification with their adopted home.

But there is also some evidence for a policy success story for the institutions of civic Britishness developed in the Blair period. The majority of the naturalisation applicants we surveyed (successful or not) also believed that the act of applying for citizenship itself has helped them feel they belong in the UK and its nations, while only about 15% think that it was “not very” or “not at all” helpful.

Place matters for Britishness too

It is worth noting, however, that – as with resurgent Englishness among the “natives” – Britishness among the naturalised is subject to geographical dynamics. While rates of Britishness were high in both new and old “contact zones”, other variables were less evenly distributed. Although feeling a sense of belonging locally and having cross-ethnic social networks were both predictors of a strong sense of Britishness among the new citizens, these did not correlate with each other and were found in different places.

In the “English cities”, the new citizens identifying as British (who had often arrived on work or study visas from countries such as the Philippines and Nigeria) told us more than half their friends were of other ethnicities (although we did not ask them how extensive or deep their social connections were) but had low place attachment.

In the “British cities” in contrast, the new citizens identifying as British (often originally family migrants, from countries such as Bangladesh and Turkey) socialised within their own ethnic groups but had a strong sense of local belonging.

These patterns raise questions about the relationship between citizenship, belonging and integration – at the very least suggesting there are multiple paths to integration rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Geography, generation and other variables matter profoundly.

I think these findings also suggest we should celebrate our integration success story rather than dwell on outdated and distorting ideas of migrants “failing to integrate”. If new migrants are feeling more British than ever, while older majority citizens are feeling less British, perhaps we need to reboot our integration debate entirely.

[READ THE ORIGINAL]

 


The Bulgarian tsunami

This is an extract from my latest COMPAS blog post. Read the whole original here.

In a week in which a government minister described parts of Britain as “swamped” by migrants and “under siege”, it is clear that the language we use to talk about migration is vitally important.

newsprintMany commentators, especially those who are broadly “pro-migration”, blame the media for creating a public discourse of hostility to immigration through its use of inflamed language and scare-mongering statistics. Others, especially those who are broadly “anti-migration”, defend the media as simply responding to public fears and concerns, reflecting back an issue on which voters feel passionate. But what evidence is there about the content of media messages on migration?

Most of the research on this issue is drawn from fairly small samples of data: typically either just one or two newspapers or very concentrated timeframes. Now, however, in the age of “Big Data”, digital tools enable researchers to mine much larger bodies of material. The Migration in the Media project at Oxford’s Migration Observatory does just this.

This project was the focus of the launch of Series 5 of COMPAS’s Breakfast Briefings. As described in previous blogposts, our Breakfast Briefings are aimed to bring evidence to bear on policy debates relating to migration. The Migration Observatory’s Will Allen opened our series by providing an insight into how the media frames these debates.

Will presented a piece of research, co-authored with Olivia Vicol, in which all UK print media mentions of Bulgaria, Bulgarians, Romania or Romanians were analysed, in the year ending in December 2013 – that is, in the year leading up to the lifting of transitional controls on labour migrants from these two new EU states. A total of 4,441 news items – over 2.8 million words – were trawled to get a detailed descriptive picture of how the British media portrayed the issue.

You can listen to Will’s briefing as a podcast here, look at his slides here, and download his briefing summary here. Continue reading


The Light of Evidence 3

This is my latest post on the COMPAS blog. Read the original here.

COMPAS’s original brief was to conduct research that provided new evidence, challenged assumptions, developed theory, and informed policy and public debate in the migration field: this remains true today. Our work has explored changing migration processes and outcomes. But informing migration policy has been an equal crucial part of our mission.

We have argued that academics play a key role in public life in addressing the gaps in the evidence base, interrogating underlying assumptions, and investigating the development of migration policy itself. In particular, we have worked to bring our own research, and that of the wider community of migration scholars, to bear on political and policy debate in the UK, with the hope of shaping a more fact-based – and less emotionally and ideologically driven – conversation about the phenomenon that is so central to our changing world.

In this spirit, for the last four years, COMPAS has organised monthly Breakfast Briefings in Westminster, to bring the latest research evidence on a range of migration-related issues to a policy-making audience.

These Briefings were funded from COMPAS’s core grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Now that our ESRC core funding period has ended, we remain committed to productively contributing to policy debates in the UK and beyond, and we are very pleased to have won funding from Oxford University for a range of Knowledge Exchange activities which we will launch after the summer, including a continuation of our Breakfast Briefing series. We are grateful too to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), an independent thinktank in Westminster which hosts the Briefings, making them accessible to policy-makers.

I summarised the 2011/12 series here and the 2012/13 here. In this post, I will describe some of the highlights of the 2013/14 series.

Local impacts of migration

The series began with a briefing by Jon Simmons, the head of the Migration and Border Analysis for Home Office Science, focusing on the local-level social and public service impacts of international migration, based on an important recent report from Home Office Science (which I blogged about here).

Earth “Global Village”Using a large suite of variables, the report allocated the local authorities of England and Wales to twelve clusters, ranging from “superdiverse London” through “Rural and Coastal Retirement Areas” to “Low Migration Small Towns and Rural Areas”, each with different types of migrant populations. Then the experiences of local authorities were analysed to start the processes of unpacking the huge variations in the social and service delivery implications of different types of migrant populations.

Jon’s briefing zoomed in on “Diverse conurbation centres”, such as Birmingham and Bradford, where long-settled BME populations have been augmented by on-going migration from the global South; “Migrant worker towns and countryside”, places such as Boston, Breckland and Thanet, with very few African and Asian migrants but large numbers of EU accession migrant workers arriving among an ageing, stable and relatively ethnically homogenous population; “Prosperous small towns”, such as St Alban’s or the towns of the Cotswolds, economically vibrant areas to which long-settled migrants are moving; and “Industrial and manufacturing towns”, such as Hartlepool or Merthyr Tydfil, deprived areas with among the fewest international migrants and most stable populations in the country.

The variation between such places – the very different ways in which migration patterns are re-shaping each of them – shows why our migration debate needs to go beyond the simplistic and frequently alarmist facts and pseudo-facts so often thrown around. But it also points to key gaps in the evidence base on migration at the local level. Understanding how place matters in migration and its impacts – capturing Britain’s new cartography of diversity – has become a research priority for COMPAS. Continue reading


Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism: parliamentary report launch

Yesterday, the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism hosted a parliamentary launch of our report on integration, disadvantage and extremism, edited by David Feldman and me. David and I presented the report to the integration minister, Stephen Williams MP, and a small audience of MPs,  lords and officials. The event was chaired by John Mann MP. The report was published in May by the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism and COMPAS.

Here is the text of what I said.

My job today is to say a few words about the recommendations made in this report. David finished on the importance of the role of central government in promoting and shaping integration in the UK. Running through our recommendations is a commitment to two related principles: the responsibility of leadership in combating extremism and the importance of evidence in making policy.

One of the central recommendations of the report, therefore, is listening to the grievances that drive intolerance in our society. The evidence collected in this report shows that grievances relating to disadvantage provide fertile ground for intolerance and division. To combat intolerance, therefore, we need to understand and address its social contexts.

For instance, Oxford sociologist Professor Anthony Heath shows that disengagement from the British mainstream is a function of what he calls the “integration paradox”: This paradox sees not Muslim migrants, but their objectively more “integrated” British-born children, becoming more sensitive to the inequalities of opportunity facing them in British society. Similarly, Vidhya Ramalingam, in collecting the evidence on far right extremism, shows that the appeal of the far right is not necessarily to the most disadvantaged among the white working class, but to those who are socially integrated in their communities but feel left behind by a rapidly changing Britain and distrustful of authority. We make a mistake, therefore, if we simply dismiss as ‘prejudiced’ those who are drawn to racist and extremist programmes – whether among the white or Muslim populations – as if they are fantasists. Rather we should see them, in general, as responding to real problems but with the wrong answers.

This points to a second key recommendation too: the importance of a whole community approach to integration, led by national government, to re-engage with those feeling left behind or disengaged. Not by targeting ‘problem’ minorities – an approach which reproduces the flaws of a divisive state multiculturalism: stigmatising groups, driving grievances and competition, promoting division over cohesion. But instead by calibrating mainstream policy levers towards ensuring that no group is left out of a concern for social mobility and social justice. For example, it is not integration policy but housing and schools policy that will stop a drift towards segregation where it occurs; it is not integration policy but employment policy that will reduce the growing gaps in employment outcomes across the population.

As MPs know from their constituencies, integration – or a lack of it – is experienced at a local level, on the streets of Britain’s towns and cities. But a national strategy is critical if we are to have any chance of overcoming the barriers to integration that create the conditions in which extremism festers. A national strategy isn’t necessarily about a new national funding programme. A national strategy is settingout detailed, concrete, substantive actions – for example, to narrow gaps in socio-economic and educational outcomes, or to eliminate segregation in schools and neighbourhoods, or to build a shared civic culture – but also a coherent methodology for measuring progress based on robust data: such a smart approach is the only cost-effective approach to doing social policy in a time of austerity. Again: the responsibility of leadership, grounded in evidence-based policy-making.

A third recommendation to put this responsibility into effect is around the way we communicate these issues. The kinds of grievances which give rise to softer forms of racism are often driven by inflamed discourse, by debates based on perceptions and assertions rather than facts. To this end, we all have a responsibility to promote evidence-based, balanced and open discussion and debate. This means finding a way to re-engage communities while using language that does not alienate, but rather speaks to their concerns about fairness, equality and justice: not lecturing about prejudice or common values, not dismissing grievances as “bigoted”, for example, but instead addressing their substance.

This approach builds on the record of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, which has worked to develop guidelines on electoral conduct and on hate speech in campuses.

In widening the focus from antisemitism to other forms of intolerance and extremism, this might mean, for instance, taking care in the use of numbers – inaccurate presentation of information leads to divisive debates and bad policy-making.

It might mean avoiding terms such as ‘native population’ – which can obscure the contribution and strong British identification of long-settled minority populations and conflate nationality with ethnicity.

And it might mean avoiding speaking of Britain’s diverse population as if it is composed of discrete and homogenous entities – ‘Muslim communities’ or ‘white working class communities’ – given that similarities across and differences within such communities are often at least as significant. Such terms, in failing to recognise the diversity and range of voices and positions within such populations, also fail to address the real structures of disadvantage that shape their experiences.

Addressing these structures of grievance is the best – the only – way to take forward the imperative to tackle all forms of intolerance in our society.


Mainstreaming migrant integration policies in Europe

UpStream

Last year, COMPAS worked with Migration Policy Institute Europe on a project for the Dutch government on mainstreaming migrant integration. The report of that work, written by  Elizabeth Collett and Milica Petrovic, has now been published:

Download ReportImmigrant integration policies that are designed for migrants to Europe, particularly newcomers, are important, but they can be insufficient over the long run to realize the full economic potential and societal participation of immigrants and citizens with an immigrant background.

For this reason, several European governments have increasingly turned to the strategy of “mainstreaming” integration—an effort to reach people with a migration background through needs-based social programming and policies that also target the general population—in order to address areas where traditional immigrant integration polices have fallen short.

This MPI Europe report assesses the degree to which four European countries—relative veterans regarding the reception and integration of immigrants—have mainstreamed integration priorities across general policy areas such as education, employment, and social cohesion. The report shows how approaches to mainstreaming in Denmark, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom reflect each country’s distinct ethnic profile, diversity, and social traditions. It also offers suggestions for future policy development.

A deeper understanding of mainstreamed policy innovations for immigrants is important to Europe’s immigrant integration efforts, since intended beneficiaries of traditional integration policy (immigrants and their descendants) are no longer a discrete and easily identifiable population—and in some localities they are not even minorities. The second and third generation face some (but not all) of the challenges of their parents, especially in relation to educational and employment success, but many of these challenges are not unique to those with an immigrant background. At a time when public budgets are tightening, governments are articulating new strategies to ensure that the needs of all vulnerable groups are met more effectively through mainstream policy change.

Liz and Milica are presenting this work at the COMPAS Breakfast Briefing this week, on Friday 13 June.

How to strike a balance between mainstream and targeted efforts for immigrant integration in Europe?

The UK debate has been obsessed with numbers, limits and caps since 2010, and arguably a generation. This misses the real story of immigration: how immigrants integrate into society. When do migrants cease to be migrants? The integration story is a complex one but its importance cannot be understated: whether or not groups are successfully included will ultimately shape immigration policy. MPI Europe has been interested in what governments can do to encourage such a process. In the UK, policy responsibility for integration is diffused through a range of national and local government agencies, often with unclear or overlapping mandates. In contrast, countries in mainland Europe, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, tend to resource specialised actors within government that design and manage integration policies in isolation from mainstream policy, with clear targets and tailored interventions. As policy-makers in these countries grapple with the need to infuse integration priorities into mainstream policy portfolios across government, what can be learned from the British experience, and vice versa?

Partly building on this work, Erasmus University Rotterdam developed the UpStream project, which aims to explore the politics and practice of mainstreaming in more depth. UpStream’s first publications are now out: Continue reading


Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism: press coverage and commentary

Here is a bit of coverage on the report edited by David Feldman and me, published at the end of May.

From Herald Scotland:

Academics issue new warning on extremism

Tuesday 27 May 2014

RADICAL Islamists and far-right extremists are often two sides of the same coin, leading academics have claimed.

A report also found radical ideologies are embraced by people who feel marginalised as they appear to offer an explanation for, or an answer to, a sense of grievance or lack of opportunity.

The report for the Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-semitism, warns extremism and integration cannot be tackled at a local level alone.

It also says they cannot be addressed in isolation from tackling inequality. The report calls for MPs to implement a national strategy. Co-editor Professor David Feldman of Birkbeck, London University, said: ‘Xenophobia, Islamophobia and antisemitism are promoted by leaders to drive many forms of extremism.”

From the CST blog:

A new report (pdf) looking at connections between integration and extremism has been published by the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism, Birkbeck, University of London; COMPAS, University of Oxford; and the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism.

The report includes a chapter by CST’s Dave Rich on the relationship between antisemitism and far right or Islamist extremism. Other chapters look at integration, extremism and British Muslims; drivers of far right extremism; and the relationship between ethnicity, economic disadvantage and class.

The full report can be downloaded here (pdf). An extract from Dave’s chapter is below.

The first and most obvious point to make is that far right and Islamist extremists try to use antisemitism for political purposes. It can be argued that this political mobilisation of antisemitism is its defining characteristic, which differentiates it from other forms of bigotry. This is most commonly found in antisemitic conspiracy theories that blame a Jewish ‘hidden hand’ for the ills of a particular society, party or community; and that accuse Jews of ‘dual loyalty’ – the idea that Jews are loyal only to each other or, nowadays, only to Israel.

This political use of antisemitism by far right parties and movements form a familiar and tragic part of European history. In recent years explicit antisemitism has largely disappeared from the public propaganda of Britain’s main far right movements, but the underlying ideas remain in euphemistic references to ‘international finance’ or ‘Zionist businessmen’. In 2000, British Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairman Nick Griffin advised BNP writers to get around the law by using “Zionists” as a euphemism for “Jews” when writing articles. This is not to suggest that anybody who criticises Zionism is antisemitic; just to note that genuine antisemites developed an antisemitic usage of the word “Zionism” a long time ago. Three years later, Griffin blamed the Iraq war on what he called Tony Blair’s “pro-Israeli big business backers”. In 2006 he changed tack, publicly denouncing antisemitic conspiracy theorists as “Judeo-obsessives”; only to return to their ranks a few years later in describing the English Defence League (EDL) as a “Zionist” plot. Continue reading


Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism: report published

This is the report based on the parliamentary symposium we organised last year for the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. The report is introduced by John Mann MP with an afterword by Baroness Sayeeda Warsi. Press release:

Report explores what drives far right and radical Islamist movements in Britain

27 May 2014

A new report, ‘Integration, Disadvantage and Extremism’, produced by researchers from COMPAS and Birkbeck, University of London, for the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, examines what drives extremism in British society.

It suggests that Islamist and far-right extremism are often two sides of the same coin with radical ideologies being embraced by people who feel marginalised as they appear to offer an explanation for, or an answer to, a sense of grievance or lack of opportunity.

The report, which offers new insights from ten leading academics and thinkers, says extremism and integration cannot be tackled at a local level alone. Nor can they be addressed in isolation from tackling issues of disadvantage and inequality. It suggests a unified national strategy is required to build community cohesion and integration, incorporating legal and policy responses, and with a renewed commitment to improving social mobility and racial justice.

Professor David Feldman, Director of the Pears Institute for the study of Antisemitism at Birkbeck, University of London, who co-edited the report, said: ‘Xenophobia, Islamophobia and antisemitism are promoted by leaders and ideologues to drive many different forms of extremism. Their appeal to followers is rooted in social and political grievances. Intolerance and racism cannot be understood or fought in isolation from tackling their underlying causes.’

Report co-editor Dr Ben Gidley, Associate Professor in the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, said: ‘Integration – or a lack of it – is experienced at a local level on the streets of Britain’s towns and cities. This research suggests a more effective national strategy is needed to overcome barriers to integration; otherwise, there is a risk that we create conditions within which extremism can flourish.’

One of the report contributors, leading sociologist Professor Anthony Heath from the University of Oxford, identifies what he calls ‘the paradox of integration’. He suggests that second generation British Muslims are becoming more aware of inequalities in British society than their parents’ generation were. ‘Simple caricatures of Muslims as leading separate lives will not do,’ concludes Professor Heath. ‘Non-Muslim British citizens must do their part too to live up to the ideal of providing equality of opportunity for their Muslim fellow citizens.’

Professor Heath, who led the Ethnic Minority British Electoral Survey (EMBES) in 2010, found that while 94% of Muslims born in Britain expressed their national identity as British or English, compared with 66% of first generation Muslims who migrated here, their perceptions of discrimination and exclusion have increased: 46% of second generation British Muslims felt there was prejudice against Muslims as compared with 27% of the previous generation; 20% of second generation Muslims also felt discriminated against because of their religion as compared with 8% in the first generation.

The reasons why people support far right organisations, as well as the UK Independence Party (UKIP), in Britain are also explored. Vidhya Ramalingam, from the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), argues that there is ‘a wide reservoir of tacit support’ in Britain for ideas put forward by the far right. ‘The UK has historically been fertile ground for movements thriving on discontent with mainstream political institutions, popular xenophobia and euro-scepticism,’ she adds in the report. She suggests that although the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is not a right-wing extremist party, there are overlaps between its policy proposals and those of the far right. Her review of existing research concludes it is important not to stereotype these groups or their assumed support base as being from ‘the white working class’.

UKIP’s ‘narrative of divide and rule’ is explored by Professor Ben Rogaly from the Sussex Centre for Migration Research and Dr Becky Taylor from Birkbeck, University of London. They explore what is meant by the white working class, arguing that UKIP seeks to separate “strivers” from the “skivers” to justify cuts in benefits, and immigrants and ethnic minorities from the so-called indigenous population. Their research includes case studies in Peterborough of white working class individuals who have moved to the area, and assesses their views of international migrants. The authors suggest that politicians ‘should be bolder in articulating the structures which give rise to common experiences of inequality and disadvantage, rather than focusing on external markers of difference’.

Read the full report

Integration Disadvantage and ExtremisimMay2014FINAL

Continue reading


EU-MIA Seminar in Brussels 7 May

The EU-MIA project will be Presenting its Research Findings

EU-MIA
Following the Academy which took place in February 2014 in Turin, ITC-ILO, in partnership with COMPAS and FIERI, will be organizing an EU-MIA seminar on 7 May 2014 in Brussels.
 

The 7 May seminar will present the concrete results of the project as well as give the floor to stakeholders that the EU-MIA team met throughout the duration of the project. This event will also serve as a catalyst to diffuse and encourage innovative city-to-city cooperation at the European level.

Officials from local institutions dealing with social integration of migrant communities, as well as practitioners, researchers and representatives of associations and NGOs dealing with local integration are invited to join the seminar by registering on-line.

 The specific objectives of the seminar are:
  • To present EU-MIA’s outcomes and the conclusions of the field research that was conducted by the project experts and stakeholders (10 ‘functioning practices’)
  • To present and distribute the EU-MIA informative toolbox that has been developed in order to enhance the dissemination of innovative practices
  • To share experiences through the testimony of participants who attended the Academy and their presentation of innovative project proposal which were designed during EU-MIA
  • Exchanging views and reflecting within a panel of discussion about innovative city-to-city cooperation on migrant integration
To view the seminar agenda, please [click here].
Bâtiment Jacques Delors Thanks to the kind cooperation of the Committee of Regions, the seminar will take place at its offices, Bâtiment Jacques Delors, Rue Belliard 99-101, Brussels.
[Find the address on Google Maps]
To view the EU-MIA project flyer, please [click here].
To register on-line, please [click here].
COMPAS EU-MIA webpage [here].
EU-MIA on the COMPAS blog: [here]
Previous EU-MIA blogposts at 171bus: for the EU-MIA academy; Visby fieldnotes.
Twitter hashtag: #EUMIA

For more information, please contact: migration@itcilo.org


The COMPAS Anthology: Integration

As part of the celebrations of its tenth anniversary, COMPAS has published Migration: A COMPAS Anthology, edited by Bridget Anderson and Michaek Keith, the print edition beautifully designed by Mikal Mast. You can browse it on the web at http://compasanthology.co.uk.

The initial idea was a kind of A-Z, a collection of keywords, and I was given the keyword “integration”. Here is my contribution.

Integration

Ben Gidley

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Integration – the stuff that happens after migration – has an ambivalent relationship to migration studies. The integration question has historically been posed in relation to the context of reception and, therefore, within the disciplinary boundaries of the sociological tradition. The sociological tradition was born with the emergence of the modern city; the question of the stranger within the city – the stranger who comes today and stays tomorrow, as Georg Simmel put it (1950) – has been one of its constitutive problems.

Classically in this tradition, though, the question has been posed in a way that brackets out and renders invisible the migrant journey.

Three problems for the classical sociological approach follow from this. First, it takes a receiving society perspective, as noted by migration scholars developing a more transnational or cosmopolitan perspective. Second, as the national state’s role is redefined by the turbluence of globalisation, an integration discourse which ‘sees like a state’ is increasingly inadequate. And, third, it raises the question of what it is that migrants integrate into.

All three of these problems were present in Emile Durkheim’s reflections at the start of the 20th century. For Durkheim, in an age defined by mass rural-urban migration, without some mechanism for integration, society ‘is no more than a pile of sand that the least jolt or the slightest puff will suffice to scatter.’ Forms of organic solidarity were required, and the civil religion of the nation was the answer, binding strangers to the abstraction of the state.

The concept of integration was introduced to the UK’s political agenda in the 1960s by Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, who defined it in a far less functionalist way: ‘not as a flattening process of assimilation but as equal opportunity, accompanied by cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance’ (1967). This definition emerged at a particular historical moment, that of the Windrush generation of (post-)colonial citizen migrants. This generation’s first struggle was with its designation as a generation of immigrants. Hence the emergent anti-racist movement (and later the academic consensus informed by that movement) rejected the notion of integration as insufficiently distinct from assimilation. Thus the concept was for a long time largely absent from political and scholarly debates in Britain.

This changed in the wake of the mill town riots and terrorist attacks of 2001, and also as a result of European Union debates. This has happened, however, at a time when integration is in danger of becoming a zombie concept, stumbling after its lifespan has passed.

The British integration debate has been characterised by a profound lack of clarity. Too often, politicians and pundits unconsciously freight the term with the baggage of Durkheimian functionalism. ‘British values’ and commitment to the ‘British way of life’ have taken the role of Durkheim’s civil religion of the state, betraying a melancholic nostalgia for a monochrome Britishness that probably never existed. As across Europe, integration debates have had a punitive streak: imagining migrants ‘not really wanting or even willing to integrate’ (as Prime Minister David Cameron put it), politicians have made full participation in citizenship contingent on the migrant duty to fit in.

Sarah Spencer, in her book The Migration Debate (2011), proposes a useful alternative definition: integration refers to the processes of interaction between migrants and the individuals and institutions of the receiving society that facilitate the socio-economic, cultural, social and civic participation of migrants and an inclusive sense of identity and belonging. This definition emphasises the multi-directional nature of integration: it is not something which migrants do, but rather about interaction. It acknowledges integration as a series of processes across a number of related, but ultimately autonomous, domains, at a range of different scales.

This definition challenges the authoritarian drift of an integration debate focused solely on the migrant responsibility to fit in. It presents us with a policy agenda on integration which I will summarise here as seven key questions. Continue reading