Category Archives: Integration

Integration and opportunity: Blogging the Casey Review

Last year I invited to give evidence to Louise Casey’s review of integration policy for the government. The report of the review has now been published.

Although the evidence base presented in the report is quite strong, most of it does not come from academic research, but rather from thinktanks or other policy literature. Among the academic research that is used, however, is Gemma Catney’s important work on the geographies of integration and segregation, and Sundas Ali’s work on second and third generation Muslims in Britain.

There has been a lot of commentary on the review, much of it critical. Leah Bassel’s piece for DiscoverSociety is especially worth reading.

I wrote two small thinkpieces on it. The first was published by the Sociological Review blog, entitled “Absent Experts and Public Debates About Integration“, in which I challenge sloppy conceptualisations of “integration” itself as well as draw attention to the value of qualitative and especially ethnographic research on how communities live together. This piece was re-published by the LSE Religion and the Public Sphere blog too.

Secondly, David Feldman and I wrote something for the Birkbeck Comment blog, on the importance of highlighting social justice and disadvantage in the integration debate (a point we made in our Integration, Cohesion and Disadvantage report in 2014).

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Diversidad cultural y conflictos en la Unión Europea

Ángeles Solanes Corella (ed.), Diversidad cultural y conflictos en la Unión Europea: Implicaciones jurídico-políticas (Tirant lo Blanch, Valencia: 2015, 1ª Edición; 2016, 2ª Edición).

Review by Javier García Medína (Universidad de Valladolid) in Cuadernos Electrónicos de Filosofía del Derecho No 34 (2016): Diciembre 2016, pp.320-324 [PDF]

Extract:

La aportación desde la perspectiva inglesa la representa el trabajo de Ben Gidley, para quien ha de reelaborarse el concepto de integración en un sentido más multidimensional y multidireccional, si se quiere dar respuesta adecuada a la integración de los migrantes y de las minorías. Ello implicaría  ransitar de la etnicidad hacia la clase social y desde el conflict de civilizaciones hacia cuestiones de justicia social. Por su parte Letizia Mancini se centra en la seguridad urbana en relación con el context italiano, cuestión central que no solo presenta la dimensión teórica sino su trascendencia y alcance en los aspectos sociales y políticos para la seguridad urbana y para la inmigración en la política italiana.

CEFD Número 34 (2016) | ISSN: 1138-9877 | DOI: 10.7203/CEFD.34.9416


They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs

Image result for Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities. Changing Neighbourhoods

A new publication, March 2016:

Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities: Changing Neighbourhoods

Publisher: Springer
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-3-319-23095-5 (Print) 978-3-319-23096-2 (Online)
Available under Open Access at SpringerLink: http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-23096-2
Year: 2016

Summary

This book presents a comparative analysis of intergroup relations and migrant integration at the neighbourhood level in Europe. Featuring a unique collection of portraits of urban relations between the majority population and immigrant minorities, it examines how relations are structured and evolve in different and increasingly diverse local societies. Inside, readers will find a coordinated set of ethnographic studies conducted in eleven neighbourhoods of five European cities: London, Barcelona, Budapest, Nuremberg, and Turin. The wide-ranging coverage encompasses post-industrial districts struggling to counter decline, vibrant super-diverse areas, and everything in between. Featuring highly contextualised, cross-disciplinary explorations presented within a solid comparative framework, this book considers such questions as: Why does the native-immigrant split become a tense boundary in some neighbourhoods of some European cities but not in others? To what extent are ethnically framed conflicts driven by site-specific factors or instead by broader, exogenous ones? How much does the structure of urban spaces count in fuelling inter-ethnic tensions and what can local policy communities do to prevent this? The answers it provides are based on a multi-layer approach which combines in-depth analysis of intergroup relations with a strong attention towards everyday categorization processes, media representations, and narratives on which local policies are based. Even though the relations between the majority and migrant minorities are a central topic, the volume also offers readers a broader perspective of social and urban transformation in contemporary urban settings. It provides insightful research on migration and urban studies as well as social dynamics that scholars and students around the world will find relevant. In addition, policy makers will find evidence-based and practically relevant lessons for the governance of increasingly diverse and mobile societies.

Contents

Introduction
Ferruccio Pastore, Irene Ponzo

‘They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs’: Housing, Diversity and Community in Two South London Neighbourhoods
Ole Jensen, Ben Gidley

Rise and Resolution of Ethnic Conflicts in Nuremberg Neighbourhoods
Claudia Köhler

Comfortably Invisible: The Life of Chinese Migrants Around ‘The Four Tigers Market’ in Budapest
Boglárka Szalai, Krisztina La-Torre

Inter-Group Perceptions and Representations in Two Barcelona Neighbourhoods: Poble Sec and Sagrada Família Compared
Ricard Morén-Alegret, Albert Mas, Dawid Wladyka

Turin in Transition: Shifting Boundaries in Two Post-Industrial Neighbourhoods
Pietro Cingolani

News Media and Immigration in the EU: Where and How the Local Dimension Matters
Andrea Pogliano

Boundaries, Barriers and Bridges: Comparative Findings from European Neighbourhoods
Ferruccio Pastore, Irene Ponzo

Reviews:

For anyone who wants to understand a critical issue of the early 21st century–the integration of immigrant minorities in European cities-this book is essential reading.  In contrast to the all-too-common top-down view from the perspective of the national state, the authors provide us with essential ground-level insights from the daily round in urban neighborhoods. — Richard Alba, CUNY Graduate Center

This timely book makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of migration in Europe. Its focus on the neglected areas of negotiation, boundary-making and social relationships in European neighbourhoods make it especially compelling. It deserves to be read closely by academics and policy-makers alike. — Richard Gale, Cardiff University

Our chapter:

‘They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs’: Housing, Diversity and Community in Two South London Neighbourhoods Ole Jensen, Ben Gidley

This chapter explores how housing policies and the nature of housing stock have conditioned residential geographies and diversity patterns in two south London neighbourhoods, Bermondsey and Camberwell. The key drivers are policy changes to social housing allocation and the post-industrial reconfiguration of urban space expressed in processes of gentrification and the redevelopment of riverside docklands into expensive housing units. These developments have challenged existing narratives of community, but they have also shifted the focus of analytical enquiry towards emerging us-them divides based on class and generation. Within the context of diversity and social cohesion, both neighbourhoods are characterized by a comparatively unproblematic day-to-day muddling along with difference, but also a generally declining level of civic engagement and neighbourhood cohesion, expressed by a sense of ‘living together apart’.   >>> Download PDF (254KB) >>> View Chapter               

HOW TO CITE: Jensen, O. & Gidley, B. (2016) ‘They’ve Got Their Wine Bars, We’ve Got Our Pubs’: Housing, Diversity and Community in Two South London Neighbourhoods’, in Pastore, F. & Ponzo, I. (eds) Inter-group Relations and Migrant Integration in European Cities: Changing Neighbourhoods, Springer, pp. 19-38


Conflicto y convivencia en los barrios urbanos diversos de Europa

New publication, in Spanish:

Nuevo libro colectivo sobre diversidad cultural y conflictos en la UE

Tras un año de intenso trabajo, se acaba de publicar en la editorial Tirant lo Blanch el volumen colectivo Diversidad cultural y conflictos en la Unión Europea. Implicaciones jurídico-políticas, editado por Ángeles Solanes, profesora de Filosofía del Derecho en la Universidad de Valencia. El libro es el fruto de una colaboración entre nueve miembros del proyecto de investigación “Derechos humanos, sociedades multiculturales y conflictos” y de autores invitados procedentes de la Universidad de Nantes y la Universidad de Oxford. A lo largo de sus 286 páginas se examinan de forma crítica y rigurosa cuestiones de indudable trascendencia y actualidad como las políticas urbanas en las ciudades globalizadas de Europa, los conflictos normativos en el ámbito familiar, las formas de violencia vinculadas a la diversidad y el papel del cine como instrumento para el conocimiento del otro. También se reflexiona sobre la importancia de los derechos humanos como guía de acción y mecanismo vertebrador de un pluralismo inclusivo, alejado de la estigmatización y criminalización de la diferencia.

Para consultar el índice y realizar la compra del libro, pinche aquí.

Portada

Resumen

  • El reto que plantea el incremento de la multiculturalidad en Europa obliga a revisar las tensiones que afectan a los derechos humanos. apostando por la necesidad de alcanzar una democracia que permita afrontar las demandas de la diversidad cultural. En diferentes Estados de la Unión Europea. han surgido con” flictos en torno al alcance general de los derechos de los extranjeros y al desafío que supone el acceso equitativo tanto al espacio público como a la distribución de poder y de recursos. atendiendo a los principios de libertad e igualdad. En este trabajo. se aborda la gestión de la diversidad cultural desde disciplinas como la sociología. la antropología. la ciencia política y el derecho. A partir de este enfoque multidimensional se propone un examen crítico y riguroso de cuestiones escogidas como las políticas públicas en el contexto europeo de las ciudades multiculturales. los conflictos en el ámbito familiar y las formas de vio” lencia vinculadas a la diversidad. Además. se analiza el papel que el cine juega como instrumento idóneo para ampliar el estudio de una realidad plural en la que es fundamental la presencia del “otro”. Este libro. en síntesis. reflexiona sobre la importancia de los derechos humanos como guía de acción y mecanismo vertebrador del pluralismo inclusivo. tratando de no criminalizar lo que la diferencia supone para la convivencia en las actuales democracias.

My chapter:

Ben Gidley: Conflicto y convivencia en los barrios urbanos diversos de Europa: reintroducir los derechos humanos y la justicia social en el debate sobre la integración, pp.31-44.

My chapter is based mainly on the projects Concordia Discors and Global Migration and the Future of the City. Here is the opening section in English: Continue reading


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.


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

June 16, 2015
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


Javier Muñoz: Extremismo.com

Dibujo que recrea el asesinato de la emperatriz Sissi a manos del anarquista Luigi Lucheni, a orillas del lago Quai de Mont-Blanc, en Suiza.

Drawing heavily on the article I wrote for La Vanguardia earlier this year, El Correo columnist Javier Muñoz has written a piece on online extremism which quotes me extensively. Here are some extracts.

Ningún país escapa al goteo de jóvenes que un día abandonan la delincuencia, dejan de fumar porros o mandan los estudios y el trabajo a paseo para luchar por el califato en Mesopotamia. Un profesor de la Universidad de Oxford, Ben Gidley, se fijó en uno de esos individuos; una chica criada en el barrio londinense de Lewisham que se marchó a Siria durante el verano de 2014, cuando las cancillerías europeas empezaron a tomarse en serio al Ejército Islámico. Gidley se interesó en el caso porque él reside en Lewinsham, un lugar en su opinión anodino. Revisó lo que la yihadista escribió en Twitter mientras su cuenta se mantuvo activa y lo primero que comprobó es que el perfil era la foto de un niño con un fusil.

Los tuits estaban impregnados de una violencia extrema. La muchacha aseguraba haber visto cómo se esclavizaba a mujeres yazidíes (herejes según los yihadistas) y cómo se decapitaba a prisioneros. Buscaba enlaces para contemplar el asesinato de un periodista británico en la web y expresaba el deseo de ser la primera combatiente del Reino Unido en matar con sus propias manos a un cautivo occidental.

Con relatos como ése, dice Ben Gidley, se pone en cuestión el modelo británico de integración de los inmigrantes basado en el multiculturalismo. Sin embargo, a su modo de ver, los hechos desmienten esa teoría. “En realidad -escribe el docente en un artículo publicado en La Vanguardia Dossier-, los reclutas británicos que han viajado recientemente a Siria para luchar con el Estado Islámico presentan a menudo un alto nivel educativo y unas trayectorias profesionales de éxito”.

Gidley duda de que la chica de Lewinsham pueda ser catalogada como una musulmana no integrada. Se educó en una sociedad libre, se topó con los “comportamientos patriarcales de los ancianos de su mezquita” y se sintió “aburrida por la vida londinense”. Conocía la jerga de las redes sociales, hablaba de tiendas, del tiempo y de su círculo de amigos.

El Reino Unido ha contabilizado más de 700 yihadistas locales, un colectivo que, según el primer ministro, David Cameron, ha surgido por la pasividad de la comunidad musulmana. Sin embargo, su ex ministra Sayeed Warsi, abogada de origen pakistaní y miembro de la Cámara de los Lores (dimitió del Gobierno conservador en 2014 por su política en el conflicto palestino), no está de acuerdo. Admite que las familias y los clérigos musulmanes pueden hacer más, pero se queja de que se responsabilice a estos últimos de la atracción que la violencia despierta en ciertos jóvenes, un fenómeno que recuerda los magnicidios de algunos anarquistas de finales del XIX y comienzos del XX.

Asesinato de Sissi emperatriz

Continue reading


The experiences and concerns of white working class communities: Not racist, just resentful

My latest COMPAS blogpost, as part of my series on the Breakfast Briefings I organise for COMPAS at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in Westminster:

In continental Europe, governments, civil society and academics are increasingly likely to repeat the mantra that integration is “a two-way process” involving both migrants and receiving society. All too often, though, governments place the emphasis on only one point side of the equation: on the duty of migrants to fit in. Similarly, integration scholars relentless scrutinise migrant and minority communities. The Open Society Foundations’ At Home in Europe programme wanted to address the other side of the coin: what about ordinary members of majority populations, those amongst whom migrants are enjoined to fit in? In particular, what about marginalised members of majority populations – those who might feel dislocated or left behind by the processes of change that migration has come to stand for?

This group – conventionally categorised as “the white working class” – is a constituency often spoken for in the migration debate. In an early COMPAS Breakfast Briefing, Ben Rogaly and Becky Taylor describe this as the discourse of the “beleaguered natives”. British politics has since provided no shortage of illustrations of this discourse. In 2011, David Cameron, talking about “a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods” created by migration, invoked the image of “the chat down the pub” to signal which kinds of neighbourhoods he meant. In 2012, David Goodhart wrote of “certain places, like the working class suburbs of south London… where the liberal tolerance of metropolitan Britain was not embraced”. In 2014, immigration minister James Brokenshire claimed that “a wealthy metropolitan elite” of “middle class” households have benefited from immigration while “ordinary, hard-working people” have suffered. In April, Dulwich College-educated former banker Nigel Farage claimed that UKIP “represent[s] the interests of working people… We are speaking for these people. They have got nobody else to speak for them.”

In short, lots of people speak for the white working class when it comes to migration. But how often are white working class voices themselves heard in the debate? Daniel Silver and Amina Lone of the Social Action and Research Foundation, in research presented to the May COMPAS Breakfast Briefing, set out precisely to listen to, record and communicate working class voices.

Higher Blackley

Daniel and Amina’s research took place in Higher Blackley in North Manchester. This is a mainly working class, mainly White British neighbourhood, where voter turnout is low but where the BNP took over a quarter of the vote in the late 2000s. What is behind that BNP vote? Are the white working class a beleaguered tribe of racists?

Daniel described a kind of triple marginalisation experienced by areas such as High Blackley. As a site of post-industrial unemployment (an ICI factory used to employ a large proportion of the area’s breadwinners), it experiences economic marginalisation; feeling neglected by the mainstream parties, it experiences political marginalisation; stigmatised in the media as feckless scroungers, it experiences social and cultural marginalisation.

Daniel cited the work of Tracy Shildrick and colleagues for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the “no pay, low pay” cycle in post-industrial communities (which more recent JRF research found affects one in five workers in the UK) to explain the dynamic in High Blackley. This cycle of insecurity affects people’s well-being (Dan presented a shocking chart showing the dramatic rise of prescriptions for anti-depressants in Greater Manchester since 2009).

Community resilience

But Daniel also argued that the media and politicians too often frame communities such as Higher Blackley as a “problem”, erasing the rich web of community support amongst families long-resident in the area.


Continue reading


Multiculturalismo: pros y contras del sistema británico de integración no regulada

LV_20150313_LV_FOTOS_D_54428960971-992x558@LaVanguardia-Web

Vanguardia

I’m published here, in Spanish, along with a few of my colleagues including Carlos Vargas Silva and Matthew Goodwin. Scroll down for the table of contents, and right down for how to buy. In due course, I’ll publish the English version.

VANGUARDIA DOSSIER Nº 55 | ABRIL / JUNIO 2015

El futuro del Reino Unido

Esta monografía de VANGUARDIA DOSSIER analiza el futuro del Reino Unido y sus cuatro naciones: Inglaterra, Escocia, Gales e Irlanda del Norte

IR A LA TIENDA Continue reading


The politics of mainstreaming and the role of the EU in migrant integration policy

The COMPAS blog has posted a piece by Helen McCarthy partly based on our Upstream research project. This is an extract.

Across the EU, there are wide variations between different countries in how they approach the question of integration of immigrants and their descendants. Whilst some countries (such as the UK and France) have long histories of and experience with migration, others (such as newer members like Poland) have relatively little (recent) experience with large migration inflows. In addition, different countries have very different philosophical/ideological approaches to integration, with the French Republican model that rejects group identities traditionally considered to be on one end, whilst the UK with a more ‘multicultural’ approach has been considered at the other. Continue reading


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


The evidence on migrant integration in the UK

My March COMPAS blogpost was on Jon Simmons (of Home Office Science) who presented a Breakfast Briefing on what we know about the reasons for migration and the social and economic characteristics of migrants in the UK. The whole post is here. This is an extract.

Convergence over time

The third report, conducted with the Office for National Statistics, Social and Economic Characteristics by Length of Residence of Migrant Populations in England and Wales (published in September and based on detailed analysis of the 2011 Census), reveals some key features of newer and longer term migrants, and degree to which people coming from abroad retain their difference, whether through cultural effects or long-term disadvantage, and the degree to which they become more like the population of which they have come to be a part.

Jon’s presentation looked at this question in a series of domains: economic activity, housing tenure, language proficiency, national identity and naturalisation. In terms of economic activity, migrant outcomes converge over time with those of the UK-born. Newly arrived EU migrants are much more likely to be employed than UK-born and non-EU migrants are much less likely, but these gaps rapidly start to close after five years and eventually disappear. Similarly, newly arrived migrants are concentrated in the private rented sector and locked out of owner occupation and social housing but eventually overtake the UK-born in the owner-occupied sector. Unsurprisingly, longer term migrants become proficient in English, identify as British and become citizens.

However, Jon also showed that there are big variations to the picture when you look by country of origin. For example, Bangladeshi- and Pakistani-born people are less likely to catch up the labour market and in English language, but more likely to catch up in the housing market and most likely to identify with Britishness. Irish-born migrants are very likely to become owner-occupiers, but very unlikely to identify with Britishness or to naturalise. 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?

muslim militantsNovember’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


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.


Political Violence, Terrorism and Extremism in Greece and Europe

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Earlier this month I participated in this workshop of the Political Studies Association’s Greek Politics Specialist Group. The webpage has lots of the materials from the workshop and is well worth a visit.


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