Integrationspolitik utan ände

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Integrationspolitik utan ände

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Publication Article, other scientific
Title Integrationspolitik utan ände
Author(s) Broomé, Per
Date 2007
English abstract
The conceptual development of Sweden’s integration policy is a remarkable journey in itself: from the influx of foreign labour in the 1950s and 1960s, via refugees and their reception in the 1970s, immigrants and introduction programmes of the 1980s and 1990s, to diversity and integration in the 21st century. This conceptual development reflects many different aspects – and this article discusses some of them. The main questions addressed are: To what extent is integration policy driven by central state directives or by municipal’s experiences, capacity and ability? Is integration work the sole concern of local government authorities and public agencies, or are other societal actors involved? What kind of ideas, strategies and courses of action have affected and influenced integration policy? How does management at the local level react to an increased immigration and its effects in the formation of the municipality’s integration work? With a focus on the development in Malmö, this article describes the management’s ideas, strategies and the municipality’s courses of action with regard to integration. Management is seen as a result of economic and demographic changes, the discovery of ethnic diversity and its effects in the city, legislation concerning the multicultural society and national integration policy, discrimination and diversity perspectives and the system’s inherent prerequisites with regard to work, roles and competence. Management is not regarded as something individual – which is the most common way of studying it – but as a collective and political phenomenon. Management is distinguished by the measures, policies, decisions and course of events that can be discerned over time and where the underlying ideas and assumptions of reality can be interpreted. Some development characteristics are very evident. Firstly, that a united political front of the dominant parties against popular and xenophobic political currents was established as a defence of the multicultural society; a front that recognised and accepted migration to Sweden from a humanitarian point of view and as a dynamic factor in societal development. Despite well-informed warnings of the weaknesses of “social engineering solutions” to “the immigrant problem” the political leadership has nevertheless relied on such special solutions for immigrants and on traditional welfare policies combined with the development of a comprehensive administrative field for the reception of refugees/immigrants nationally and locally in the municipalities. The united political front of the established parties allowed the administrative powers to create specialised reception and integration systems without any critical analysis of the resources provided for integration. For politicians it was a question of breaking down the opposition to a multicultural society among citizens and preventing xenophobic forces from gaining political power. It would seem, however, that the impact of xenophobic political parties – parties that are not in accord with multicultural ideology – has not been curbed. In the 2006 elections the Sweden Democrats won a considerable number of seats on local councils, particularly in Skåne, which means that xenophobic forces are once again to be found on the political playing field. Secondly, a long line of projects were initiated at the end of the 1990s and beginning of the 21st century in order to influence the organisation, its members and improve integration in society. These were mainly concerned with educational efforts and project work designed to change and improve the organisation’s way of working with diversity and included themes like “Staff Training in Discrimination Issues”, “Diversity as a Personnel Concept” and management training initiatives like “Commitment for Malmö”. Initiatives to affect the situation in “densely populated immigrant areas and exposed districts” were also included in collaborations with the state, such as the co-called “Blommanpengarna” (Development grants), “Nationellt exempel” (National examples) and “Storstadssatsningen” (Metropolitan investment). In spite of all this alarming reports about the situation for immigrants in Malmö increased and the situation still doesn’t seem to have improved as far as immigrants are concerned. Thirdly, the diversity ideology “bites” slowly in the organisation, despite considerable efforts to establish it within the municipal organisation. While diversity ideology certainly leads to a number of discussions at management level, it seems to stop there. In other words, such efforts don’t lead to many integrating actions of a diversity nature “on the shop floor”, in the shape of utility-oriented assessments of diversity in the recruiting of co-workers and managers, or a diversity content relating to an inclusion of “all differences”, or a pointing out of the qualitative aspects in the encounter between internal differences and external relations. Discrimination ideology does gain ground, however. Action plan objectives for a certain quantitative representation of foreign born people are agreed on in the organisation. At the beginning of the 21st century such an approximate representation was reached in the organisation as a whole, and is a goal that carries great weight. Even though such a representation exists, it doesn’t reach as far as the category of management or to the political mandate, where representation is considerably weaker. In itself this quantitative ethnic representation allows for spontaneous encounters and the development of a diversity idea, although this doesn’t happen in the permeating and utility-directed way aimed at in diversity ideology. In spite of the double undertaking of welfare and growth in the recently (2004) launched programme for integration (entitled Welfare for All), which indicates a change in integration policy in Malmö from “local government to local governance”, the long-term goals still tend to be classic general socio-political welfare goals, namely, that every able-bodied person should have a job, every student should have complete grades, everybody should be offered housing, and the crime rate should be zero. The immigrant issue only appears as a background formulation (multicultural resource) and as a restriction (abolishing segregation in the city) in the success of the programme; something that is explained in terms of the municipality shouldering an integration burden that is actually the state’s responsibility. A clear social engineering perspective also characterises the programme and is strengthened by an expectation that collaboration must take place if the problems are to be solved. While such collaboration is expressed as other public agencies on the one hand and industry and voluntary organisations on the other, no explicit reference is made to immigrants and immigrant groups. A number of reports show that such collaborations are not always successful. Those experiencing least success are, not surprisingly, immigrant entrepreneurs, immigrant associations and immigrant citizens, whereas collaborations prove more successful in terms of the public sector agencies such as the police, the employment agency and the social insurance office.
Publisher Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare (MIM) and School of International Migration and Ethnic Relations (IMER)
Host/Issue Current Themes in IMER Research;7
Series/Issue Current Themes in IMER Research
ISSN 1652-4616
ISBN 978-91-7104-074-9
Pages 17-67
Language swe (iso)
Subject(s) integration policies and programmes
diversity management
government
governance
City of Malmö
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Ethnicity
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/9867 (link to this page)

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