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

03 Mar 2018, 05:35 PM
Chapters 4 › Unit 4: What roles do citizenship and participation play in integration? View instructions Hide instructions

What roles do citizenship and participation play in integration?

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Photo: © Panos Georgiou

Tell us: What roles do citizenship and participation play in integration?

In Chapter 4, we've taken a look at some of the more tangible parts of the journey from 'foreigner' to citizen: naturalization, participation, and which policies and attitudes matter towards making someone feel as though they belong. We imagine that many of you have personal experiences with these topics or opinions on how they should be handled for those coming to your countries. We'd love for you to share them with the 'Us' & 'Them' course community here!

Here are some guiding questions to draw from:
- How do you define 'diversity' and how did you 'learn it' (or how do you think you still need to learn it?)
- What types of major divides or cleavages do you most see in your society? Are these along the lines of immigrant vs. native or other groups?
- How easy or hard do you think it should be for immigrants or refugees to gain citizenship of their new country? Do you think people should be able to maintain dual citizenship or do you see this as problematic for integration?
- What is one thing that you find especially important to feeling like you belong to your society (or what do you think it would be if you moved to a new place)?

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.

Hypocrisy in German politics


I personally think outlining Immigrants as a unified and separate societal entity is ridiculous. The very same spectrum between liberal and conservative exist within every single ethic group in a society. It is for this reason i think most debates over integration in light of the 2015 refugee crisis are completely missing the point when talking about an incompatibility of two different cultures, when in reality there is neither one definite German nor one Muslim culture.

Often times i even think that many politicians are just complete hypocrites because although theoretically Germany is a secular nation the role of the catholic church is sometimes seen as special and above law. For instance they can just ignore article 3 of our constitution and fire people for being gay or divorced. I just don't get how you can tolerate this and then turn around and call out Muslims for just wanting to build a mosque.


Thanks for weighing in on the issue of language, Jakob. Since you mention the problem of categorizing people as one thing or another, do you think putting people in categories are per se a bad thing or should we be using different ones?

9 months ago

I think, if you put people in to categories you reduce their diverse opinions and views to one word and you will inevitably classify them as something they are not. For Instance, many people with social-liberal views are categorized as leftists or liberals, but at the same time so called 'Social Justice Warriors' (at times its a bit overused, I know) are also put in this category too. This leads to a misrepresentation of social-liberal goals as more authoritarian leftist are put in the same group. In everyday use however i think its impossible to completely stop using categories, but I think we should be using more accurate descriptions and break larger groups down into smaller ones. Like breaking down the group of 'refugees' in konservative, neo-liberal and social-liberal refugees or even further.

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