Integration and Muslim identities in settlement : a comparative study of Germany, The Netherlands and Switzerland.
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I adopt an interpretive methodology through which I investigate the becoming of Muslim identities in three national integration discourses. I analyse the meanings of integration in abstract, in context and through texts across contexts, and working within a broadly critical constructivist approach, I seek to show how integration discourses have an underlying security complex which explains how they come to be framed with Muslims in mind. To analyse integration I outline a new generic concept of settlement which I refer to as habilitation and which means enabling or endowing with ability or fitness. I then argue for an analytical separation of habilitative strategies, models and approaches, and thus remove integration from its generic descriptive status to one of strategy, model or approach. This I argue is justified in the discursive distinctions made in every-day language and meaning. I then investigate three broad habilitative models: multiculturalism, integration and assimilation. My primary data has been gathered in interviews with individuals acting as representatives of Muslim communities - Imams, organisation leaders, political activists and factory workers – corporate and societal actors such as Trade Unionists, Church representatives and state elites – policy advisers and integration officers. Muslim interviewees emphasised widespread use of distortion and mis-identification. I have defined such distortions as synecdoche. This is a two way process in which the individual is held responsible for the whole and in reverse direction, the whole being held responsible for individual action. The power of synecdoche to compress or expand Muslim identities is distortive and serves to reinforce the alterity of Muslims. In addition I identify another layer of othering which I call ulteriorisation. This involves placing identities under suspicion and is accomplished through a range of aspersive renderings – ambiguous loyalties, secularity, enclaving, underclass formation, and anti-integrationism. Ulteriorisation is understood to feed into broader securitisation of communities, society and polity. In conclusion I look at possible research directions and finish by emphasising that the integrity of Integration will be judged by the willingness of parties to negotiate and the quality of voluntarism and solidarity these processes produce.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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