The Role of the State in Cultural Integration: Trends, Challenges and Ways Ahead

The sociologist Christian Joppke examines the delicate balance that states face in promoting policies that are aggressive enough to further social cohesion yet restrained enough to respect immigrants’ moral autonomy.

The author explains that since the last decate, liberal states have formulated more and more civic integration policies, such as the learning of official languages, etc. Several EU countries would reject the multicultralist approach in order to rather opt for a "tougher" approach with a stronger propensity to liberal rules in host-society.

The author goes deeper into the question of a right balance that states should manage to reach, between policies increasing cohesion, and at the same time rescting individual freedoms of immigrants.

The author suggests to look at integration not at identical or religious nature, but rather at socioeconomical level. The report goes into the discussion over Islam, proposing some guiding principles that states should embrace to further civic integration. These principles include, for example:

-Providing coexistance of different groups, which can be more effective than trying to regulate people's value and beliefs.

-Limiting public debates on identity issues, which can easily feed hostle attitudes towards immigrants.

-Opting for what the author calls a "gentle pluralism" option, where minority accomodations do not come at the costs of the majority.

The report is available on the website of the Transatlantic Council on Migration.

This text is only available in English.

Publication Date:
Mon 26 Mar 2012
Main theme:
Publication type: