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Rethinking 'Us' & 'Them': Integration and Diversity in Europe

Chapters 3 › Unit 3: What does 'integration' mean to you? View instructions Hide instructions

What does 'integration' mean to you?

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Tell us: What does 'integration' mean to you?

In this chapter, we've provided you with a fundamental understanding of the various facets of integration and how the debate and approaches vary in Europe and Canada. While it's important to understand how governments manage (or don't manage) this process, integration is something that doesn't start and stop with policy. That's why we have included views from those working in the field, either supporting or circumventing integration policy, as well as voices from the public to get a taste for how people actually understand this term and what ideal they wish for in their societies.

Now, the 'Us' & 'Them' course community wants to hear from you:

Here are some guiding questions to draw from:

  • What do you think of Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan's four fields of integration (structural, social, cultural, identificative), and which do you feel are emphasized most in your society?
  • Would you prefer to see integration as a top-down, bottom-up, or another directional process?
  • What ways do your societies and governments support or not support integration and multiculturalism (e.g. through resources like integration courses or symbolically through representation)?
  • Who in your societies needs integrating, from your point of view? Does integration stop with refugees and immigrants?
  • How do you think we can best measure integration? What counts most (e.g. numbers, personal encounters, building networks)?
  • Where do you think Europe is headed when it comes to integration? Do you think Europe can learn something from the Canadian example?

Now what?
Click 'Start in Journal', and fill out the entry. How you do this is up to you: You can use just words, or add pictures or links to articles or videos to highlight your point!

Is this journal assignment required?
No! Nothing in our course is 'required', and there are no grades, but we encourage you to reflect on these topics and share if you feel comfortable, so that others in the course can benefit from your experiences.

Integration

2 comments
  1. What do you think of Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan's four fields of integration and which do you feel are emphasized most in your society? The fields clearly identified and classified what integration is all about. Here in Ghana, all are at play however, structural, social and cultural plays a very significant role. For example, educational institutions have open policy to admit foreigners to undertake different courses hence quickly get integrated through learning and most quickly learn the local language spoken at that area and culture thus have that sense of belonging.
  2. Would you prefer to see integration as a top - down, bottom - up, or another directional process? I prefer the bottom - up process since the sovereignty of GHANA resides in it's people. They people must decide what they want before the UP implements. If this becomes the reverse as in the case of many laws here; enactment would be made but there would be apathy since the people don't to them won what has been established.
  3. What ways do your societies and governments support of not support integration and multiculturalism? Here in Ghana, integration through multiculturalism was introduced by the country's first president H.E Dr. Kwame Nkrumah through inter - ethnic marriages. He discovered that; a country of 49 languages and their diverse opinions and views about each other could only be bridged through inter - marriage hence would give the room for seeing ourselves as a nation of "one people with a common destiny".. Ghana supports integration. For example, the Liberian Refugees to the country in the 90's were given the opportunity to return to their country after the end of the civil war or be integrated. Most people integration and the country is doing all it can to help them integrate but there are challenges as well from the refugees. Dr. Atong Achakoma of Labour College, TUC - Ghana to the best of my knowledge is providing resources to migrants workers here and those who intends to travel outside as well on migration.
  4. Who in your societies needs integrating, from your point of view? Does integration stop with refugees and immigrants? Everybody does need integration in one way or the other each blessed day. It cuts across families, tribes, political parties, creed, work place, borders etc. Everybody needs that sense of belonging hence we must all strive to educate ourselves and accept everyone as one of our own anytime any moment.
  5. How do you think we can best measure integration? Building networks. This will give a platform for experience sharing. People will learn from each other. For example, what might be a challenge to somebody might be overcome by another elsewhere in the same country hence the network will offer better services and easy to measure the progress of people across borders. 6*. Where do you think Europe is headed when it comes to integration? Do you think Europe can learn something from the Canadian example?* I do believe Europe is doing pretty well comparing to the past which was predominantly against the black man, Asian and others however, things are improving each blessed day. They now see this people as partners and not the master servant kind of stuff though there are challenges. The borders of Europe are somewhat available to those people they used to discriminate against in time past. On the other hand; Europe can learn from the Policy on Integration from Canada however, I for see a big challenge. Geographically, we have established that; Canada is inaccessible to emigrants compared to Europe hence the amount involved to offer support services to emigrant in Europe will be on the high side thus not sustainable. Europe in my view; should educate their citizens beginning from the family through civics and all open available means on the acceptance of others as part of them which will not bring so much cost to the tax payer.

Comments

In conclusion, integration to me is having the sense of belonging to either the family you came from, work place, creed, borders traveled to etc.

Hi Ernest, wow, thanks for your very comprehensive thoughts on the journal questions! It is great to have the Ghanaian perspective introduced to the course and makes me want to learn more about it. I agree with you that education and building networks are really important for integration and acceptance on both sides.

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