Integration: a hot button issue. Contextualising Multiculturalism and Integration in Amsterdam

Veikou, Mariangela
January 2013
Diversities;2013, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p51
Academic Journal
The societal transformations reflecting the increased visibility of migrants in European societies have prompted reconsideration of the theoretical concepts used to analyse and model migrant-host society relationships. Do the principles of concepts such as 'multiculturalism' and 'integration' fit the empirical examples that are meant to illustrate? The paper presents the first set of empirical results of a project designed to study questions of migrant integration by retrieving illustrative examples of experiences in this domain, drawn from Amsterdam. Much depends upon what happens at the local level and attention to non-state dimensions of integration - such as these that take place at the city neighbourhood level - could illuminate the workings of integration in practice. The study, paying a great deal of attention to the intimate stories of women migrants from North Africa, addresses issues to do with their trajectories of adaptation in Amsterdam. The divergent experiences (and backgrounds) of these migrant women reveal the current city-policy structures and present-day cultures of the settled migrant and native populations as they unfold in practice in everyday life. Following the life experiences of migrants is perhaps one of the best ways of gaining a perspective on the integration model of the society, the processes of 'integration from below' so to speak.


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