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?

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 means to me ...

1 comment

The course has widened my thoughts, my opinion concerning integration. I think the main idea is that integration was successful, if people from different countries, from different cultures can live together in a peaceful, respectful and cooperative way. To reach this objective every person has to make its contribution. But I think that the main part is on the side of the newcomer. In order to avoid missunderstandings I want to give an example concerning german people: Let's assume that I live in Munich and want to go to Hamburg in order to live their for several years. Then it's initially my task to get to know the differences in every-day-life between Munich and Hamburg. But the people of Hamburg should feel obliged to respect me as a person and react to my activities openly.


Hi Herbert, so glad to hear this course has widened your understanding of integration - that's our hope! What you've written makes me wonder if actually part of the problem is that people think newcomers aren't adapting when they aren't and not being empathetic and respectful as a result. Because a lot of newcomers I know (refugees or otherwise) are making a sincere effort to understand Germany (where I'm based) and learn the language and culture, but the general perception may be different.

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