Category Archives: Research reports

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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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


MIPEX UK press coverage

I helped provide the UK data to MIPEX, the Migrant Integration Policy Index, published this month. The UK findings are here.
mipex-united-kingdom
Here is some of the coverage of the UK findings. The first three pieces are by me.

The Conversation

The UK tumbles out of top ten in key immigration ranking

Jul 1, 2015

After five years of coalition government, the impact of tighter controls on immigration is beginning to register. In a global index of how committed countries are to integrating legal migrants, the UK has dropped out of the top 10. [By me. Original at The Conversation.]

It’s time to put integration back on the agenda

Jun 30, 2015

Since the introduction of the concept by then-Labour home secretary Roy Jenkins in the mid-1960s, integration has never been a priority for UK governments. [By me. Original at Left Foot Forward.]

Home

An evidence base for a rights-based approach to migrant integration policy

As we continue to see high migration numbers, is cutting integration wise? The new MIPEX findings raise the question of how much integration should be prioritised as UK slips in the international tables. [By me. Original at MRN Migration Pulse]

Continue reading


Fifty days in the summer: Gaza, political protest and antisemitism in the UK

The All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism has published a report they commissioned me to write.

This is the opening page:

On 12 June 2014, three Israeli teenagers were abducted in the West Bank, against a backdrop of heightened tension between the Israeli state and Palestinian forces, including a renewal of settlement-building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The abduction was followed by days of escalating violence, including a massive Israeli policing operation in the West Bank, the murder of a Palestinian teenager after the bodies of the kidnapped Israelis were found, and increasing numbers of rockets fired from Gaza into Israel. A series of Israeli air strikes on targets in Gaza on the night of 30 June-1 July marked the start of sustained Israel’s military engagement, and Operation Protective Edge was launched on 8 July, comprising initially of airstrikes on targets associated with rocket fire (with around 200 people killed in the strikes), followed by ground engagement a week later. De-escalation began on 3 August, with Israel withdrawing ground troops from Gaza, and an open-ended ceasefire concluded this round of the conflict on 26 August. In total, over 2100 Palestinians were killed (with estimates of civilians ranging between 50% and 76% of the losses), along with 66 Israeli combatants, 5 Israeli civilians and 1 Thai national.

There were demonstrations against Israel’s prosecution of the conflict across the world, including several in the UK, as well as other manifestations of protest, such as public calls for and acts of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. There were some reports of antisemitic content in some of these demonstrations, against a broader context in which antisemitic incidents spiked dramatically. Over 130 antisemitic were recorded by the Community Security Trust (CST) in July, making it the highest monthly total since January 2009 (a previous period of war in Gaza and Israel’s Operation Cast Lead).

This short report examines the 2014 protests, exploring the extent and degree of antisemitism in the anti-Israel protests, as well as the reporting of this antisemitism and its impact on the Jewish community. It focuses in particular on the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge.

The research questions which this report attempts to address are:

  • What were the predominant discourses in the UK protests relating to Operation Protective Edge?

  • Were antisemitic discourses present? If so, how prevalent were they?

  • Are UK protests relating to Operation Protective Edge comparable in scale and in discourse to protests relating to other conflicts?

  • How do these issues relate to mainstream and Jewish media reporting on the conflict and on the demonstrations?

  • How do these issues and their media representation affect Jewish feelings about antisemitism?

My report was one of a series of sub-reports which are also available on the APPGAA’s website. These sub-reports were drawn on in the APPGAA’s own report and recommendations.

For the purposes of shameless self-promotion, here are extracts from the report which cite me: Continue reading


New report: Advancing Outcomes for All Minorities: Experiences of Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policy in the United Kingdom

Migration Policy Institute Europe has just published a new report by Sundas Ali and me on mainstreaming integration  policy in the UK. The work was done last summer as part of an MPI Europe project for the Dutch government described here. The work informed the Upstream project which we subsequently developed with Erasmus University Rotterdam. The following is from the MPI Europe website.

 

Although the United Kingdom has large foreign-born and native-born ethnic minority populations, there has been little policy activity in the area of immigrant integration in the country. Instead, since 2010 integration issues have been subsumed within broader concerns about diversity, equality, and social cohesion.

This report explores the United Kingdom’s unique experience with immigrant integration, which is strongly influenced by its colonial ties. Following World War II, the United Kingdom received a wave of migrants from its former colonies, many of whom were already British citizens, spoke English, and maintained strong ties to what they consider their mother country. As a result, native-born citizens have been reluctant to think of migrants as such, preferring instead to consider them minorities. Government programs and civil-society groups engage migrants, particularly migrant and minority youth, as part of communities rather than as discrete entities.

This mainstreaming of integration policy—attempting to reach people with a migration background through needs-based social programming and policies that also target the general population—has been supported by societal norms emphasizing inclusion and antidiscrimination as well as an ideological commitment to localism at the national level. These factors, combined with suspicion of top-down regulation, have led the national government to relinquish responsibility in integration matters to local governments. Localities, including case-study cities London and Glasgow, now have the space to develop innovative approaches to integration, but must overcome low levels of funding due to austerity measures. 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


AMICALL report launched in Brussels

On Tuesday 25 September the AMICALL report was launched in Brussels.

The report is the culmination of the project Attitudes to Migrants, Communication and Local Leadership, an eighteen-month transnational project seeking to provide a platform for the sharing of good practice and the development of new strategies for the promotion of positive attitudes towards migrants and towards migrant integration at the local and regional level.

At the launch event in Brussels representatives from four of the six research partners shared research findings and experiences. The partners are the Central European University (Hungary), European Forum for Migration Studies, University of Bamberg (Germany), University Complutense (Spain), COMPAS, University of Oxford (UK), Erasmus University of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and the International and European Forum on Migration Research (Italy).

The event was attended by an international audience with migration, integration and local authority interests. In addition to the presentations by project partners the audience also had the opportunity to listen to talks from speakers from the Migration Policy Institute, the Council of Europe, The Gallup Organisation Europe, and the City of Ghent about research results and local experiences in relation to xenophobia and shaping positive attitudes at the local level.

The full final transnational report, executive summaries, and country reports are all available online.

Event Agenda


Migrants in London: Policy Challenges

At the Migration Observatory:

Nearly half of the UK’s migrants live in London and a third of London’s residents were born abroad. This primer discusses the policy challenges arising from the diversity and scale of immigration in London.

Read the briefing.