Multiculturalism: failure or success story?
Salle C2059,Pavillon Lionel-Groulx, Université de Montréal, de 15h à 16h30.
The immigration in the last few years of millions of refugees to Western Europe from predominantly Islamic countries of origin gives new urgency to the question of the relationship between culture, religion, and integration. What can we learn from earlier experiences of continental European and Anglo-Saxon immigration countries? Are culture and religion irrelevant for successful immigrant integration? Are ethnic cultures and religions resources that immigration countries should recognize and support because they enhance integration, as theories of multiculturalism assert? Or are classical assimilation theorien correct in their assumption that successful structural integration is only possible by way of cultural assimilation?
Ruud Koopmans is Professor of Sociology and Migration Research at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He is currently Director of the Research Unit Migration, Integration, Transnationalization, which focuses on four dimensions of migration and integration.
On the cultural dimension, migration raises the questions of national identity, and – particularly under the influence of Muslim immigration – of state-church relationships. On the social dimension, the roles of social capital and of civil society organizations for the integration of immigrants are at stake. Politically, immigration has brought the category of citizenship again to the centre of attention. Economically, finally, post-war migration to Europe has been a unique experiment of mass immigration in the context of developed welfare states. Whether immigration countries can remain welfare states is an as yet unresolved existential question for European societies.
He is also Head of the Completed Bridging Project The Political Sociology of Cosmopolitanism and Communitarianism. The project investigates the extent to which globalization generates a cleavage pitting those in favor of open borders and socio-political integration against those favoring closure and demarcation.