Why Regions Matter in Immigrant Integration Policies: North-Rhine Westphalia and Emilia-Romagna in Comparative Perspective
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SourceJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 40, 12, (2014), pp. 1854-1874
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
SubjectDistributional Conflicts in a Globalizing World: Consequences for State-Market-Civil Society Arrangements
Immigration policies in Europe, since the late 1980s and the early 1990s, have become increasingly politicised, challenging, for example, attempts to recruit migrant labour and placing more and more emphasis on demands for immigrants to adhere to cultural, social and legal norms of the host societies. Despite these developments, however, the situation in Europe remains rather puzzling: besides the adverse political climate, certain European countries have experienced remarkable progress in promoting the integration of newcomers from non-EU member states. In order to explain the dynamics behind integration policy formation in Europe, we consider it necessary to move beyond a conceptualisation that is restricted to national politics.We link this observation to the structural changes in Europe’s emerging system of multi-level governance, which has empowered sub-national levels of governance in their efforts to design and implement integration policies. Employing a political opportunity structure model, we hypothesise that the diversity of these dynamics (i.e. competition between parties and interaction with organisations within civil society) may produce different policies than those at the national level. Our argument is based on a comparative case study of Emilia-Romagna in Italy and North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.
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