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INTPOL Study: Integration and Integration Policies

The feasibility study INTPOL has developed a conceptual frame for the analysis of integration processes and research. The social integration of individual migrants into the institutions of the receiving society is differentiated from the effects of social integration on the social structure of the receiving society and effects on the societal integration or cohesion of the receiving society. Social integration is understood as inclusion of individual migrants into the core institutions of the receiving society, with structural, cultural, interactive and identificative integration as dimensions of that process. Integration in relation to the social structure is defined as the decrease or absence of ethnic stratification and decrease or eventual absence of ethnic or immigrant status related forms of social differentiation. Societal integration is understood as absence of immigration-related severe group conflicts and as cohesion among major social groupings.

The feasibility INTPOL has continued to make a comparative analysis of the terms "integration" and "assimilation". It has further specified which groups are being studied in integration research. Starting from the general assumption that there cannot be a unified theory of integration of migrants that applies to the major areas of integration INTPOL has suggested a conceptual basis for analysing determinants of integration processes in a multi-level approach.

One of the main tasks of the INTPOL study was to find new lines of strategic research. A precondition for fulfilling this task was to identify gaps in existing integration research approaches. For this purpose a mapping exercise was done on integration research as it is represented in leading journals. On the basis of a further differentiation of the conceptual framework for integration analysis, a reporting scheme with 31 categories was developed and applied. Articles from the following journals were analysed as to major research topics, research questions and procedures: Sociological Abstracts, International Migration, Ethnic and Racial Studies, International Migration Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Migrations Societé and Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationals. The time period analysed for Sociological Abstracts was 1995-2004, for the four English language journals 1999-2004, for the French language journals 1995-2005. It was found that the very large majority of studies addresses the area of social integration. Only a small percentage relates to changes of the social structure and to social cohesion as effected by immigration and integration. These areas are clearly underresearched. Within the area of social integration, about half of the studies found are on structural integration with integration into the labour market and ethnic entrepreneurship clearly dominating the area of structural integration. From a perspective of integration policy, this focus seems justified since structural integration is integration into the core institutions of society. At the same time, however, a serious shortcoming was found in this area of research on structural integration: an almost complete lack of studies on measures of structural integration policies. Another serious shortcoming of the studies analysed was the neglect of cross-national studies. Cross-national studies can show what is general and what is specific about a particular phenomenon.

On the basis of these results INTPOL has developed a programme for new lines of strategic research in the area of structural integration measures and policies in Part C of the feasibility study.

Funding: European Union, DG Research, 6th Framework Programme, Network of Excellence
Completion: April 2005 (Feasibility Study)
Researcher: Friedrich Heckmann
Veröffentlichung: efms INTPOL team: Integration and Integration Policies. IMISCOE Network Feasibility Study 2006. Bamberg 2006

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