Different approaches to immigrant integration - overview and assessment
John Erik Fossum (UiO-ARENA Centre for European Studies)
In the lecture, John Erik Fossum will present and assess three theories of immigrant integration: multiculturalism, transnationalism and cosmopolitanism. The point of departure is that those theories that we use to analyze and assess immigrant integration rest on certain assumptions pertaining to normative principles, values, types of actors, and types of structures. We need to spell out what these are if we are to assess the theories’ relevance, acceptance and normative legitimacy. Further, the contexts within which immigrant integration is taking place shape and condition the theoretical assumptions that we operate with. A central conditioning context is the nation-state, which has a strong grip on the normative imagination. At the same time, the nation state in Europe is facing two key developments: For one, globalisation and transnationalisation bring states and societies more closely together and make them more interdependent. Do these developments also make them more open and inclusive for immigrants? For another, the rise of an ethnic nationalism whose aim is to highlight what is unique, distinctive and defining of a given national community has a built-in exclusive aim – to exclude those deemed ‘the others’. Are all immigrants considered ‘others’? What are the implications of these two seemingly opposite developments for our theories of immigrant integration?
John Erik Fossum is Professor at ARENA and previously was professor at the Department of Administration and Organization Theory, University of Bergen. Fossum holds a PhD in political science from the University of British Colombia, Canada.
Fossum's main fields of interest include political theory, democracy and constitutionalism in the EU and Canada, Europeanisation and transformation of the nation-state.