Different interpretations of integration

Roy Jenkins, the UK’s home secretary in the 1960s defined integration as not as a flattening process of assimilation but equal opportunity, accompanied by cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance

Randall Hansen, a leading Canadian academic, writing on the UK’s Commission for Racial Equality website suggests that integration should be defined in positive terms ‘as achieving levels of educational, professional, social and political progress comparable to those of the broader population’

Rinus Penninx professor of migration at University of Amsterdam October 1, 2003 The moment immigrants settle in a country, they have to acquire a place in that new society. This is true not only for physical needs such as housing, but also in the social and cultural sense.

Integration is the process by which immigrants become accepted into society, both as individuals and as groups. This definition of integration is deliberately left open, because the particular requirements for acceptance by a receiving society vary greatly from country to country. The openness of this definition also reflects the fact that the responsibility for integration rests not with one particular group, but rather with many actors—immigrants themselves, the host government, institutions, and communities, to name a few.

Bobby Sayyid

'One of the difficulties in discussing integration is that its terms are not always clear. For example, in the British context integration and assimilation are often used interchangeably. The meaning of multiculturalism depends on the individuals using the terms. Sometimes it is used as insult to mean little more than relativism, other times it is used as euphemism for ethnicity. It would be a major and perhaps a futile exercise to clarify all these terms.' 'By integration I mean the elimination of exclusion and not necessarily the dissolution or assimilation of ethnic identities. The extent of the exclusion of ethnic minorities varies not only according to which particular ethnic minority we are considering, but also differs according to its dimensions. In other words, one could argue that ethnic minorities are more likely to be economically integrated (i.e. they are part of the national economy), but less likely to be socially, culturally and politically integrated'.

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