IPPR has published a report calling for a new approach to integration of minority communities.
The report titled “Rethinking integration” by Clare McNeil and Myriam Cherti, proposes ‘everyday integration’ approach, which the authors say is “grounded in new academic work, provides a better way of both analysing and advancing the possibilities for the integration of different communities into a stable social order.”
The report notes that in academia, most work on integration has focused on supposed conflicts of values between minority communities and western liberalism, and the difficulties that these conflicts create for social life in European countries.
Many of these debates, the report says, have moved from academia into policy discourse, stemming from such events as the French headscarf controversy and the security implications of radicalisation and extremism.
For over a decade, this debate has been characterised by a simple choice between, on the one hand, a multicultural group-rights approach popular in much of the academic community and, on the other hand, an increasingly assimilative approach focused on developing a stronger sense of shared citizenship and national identity, which is popular among much of the policy community.
Ms. McNeil and Ms. Cherti argue that both the above models are mistaken.
“We propose that future work on the best ways of integrating minority communities into broader society should focus on everyday integration, that is, on sites where identities are constructed and reconstructed and where new possibilities of group allegiance are continually developed,” Ms. McNeil and Ms. Cherti say.
They suggest four potential areas for further exploration in this regard namely: early-years childcare; shopping and consumption; leisure activities; and supplementary education.
Ms. McNeil and Ms. Cherti acknowledge that difficult practical, ethical and scholarly questions remain, but say they believe that ‘everyday integration' provides the possibility of a crucial new start for work in this vital policy area.