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 is such a complex word. Is the fitting in of an individual in a a culture that one is not born in to. It has something unphisical to it and as such hard to quantify. I liked the doctor's measurable parameters because they give shape to the blob that is generally passed as integration thinking.
Romanian integration process is something i do not have direct experience with and society over here is slow to adopt new ways of looking at the world. The closest i experienced is the incredibly successful assimilation process from communist times or the imperfect system in my ex adoptive country. I think a system that is bottom up is better in the long run because individuals have a less stressful time becoming part of society then the top down path. I mean, in a place that traditionally mistrusted commands , like romanian society, orders will frustrate the natives that will feel they get the short straw because of the fact that immigrants will need supporting at the beginning and make the newcomers feel like they have to jump thru the hoops to be ingraced in to society (performance anxiety is not nice)
Our society is still to uncertain, still unsettled after the changes in the last thirty years, the change from national-communism under Ceausescu and post-modernity is not an easy one . As such it has a program of anti-immigrationism that simultaneously fails to un integrate because of the value and cultural similarities between romanian society and near eastern/levantine society (we are so similar it is scary some times)
I think my society's greatest challenge is the integration of the gypsy minority living among us. We have a history of hate and fascination with our former slaves and there a change is due for a long time.
In my mind the best measurement of integration is exogamy. How many couples are formed outside one own's group . That is the part where the facade can come off. Can you love a person from another culture? Can you have a home with that person and not let it fall apart because of culture?
I am a pessimist! I think Europe is heading on a downward path because of it's failure to provide good employment to it's working class population. i am of east european proletariat stock and have seen the death of the heavy industry first hand. The good jobs that provided the middle educated people with a decent life are gone and so they build resentment and hate in the working class. When immigrants are given a chance the government is perceived as giving handouts to people while holding back on lending that saving hand that could drag the workers out of the slowly sinking world. I think that until the economic part is solved the Canadian example is out of question.

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