Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen

Scandinavian Immigrant Integration Politics: Varieties of the Civic Turn

This dissertation investigates how ideas concerning nationhood and social cohesion have informed and legitimized the divergence of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian immigrant integration policies in the last 15-20 years. Besides examining the politics of permanent residence and naturalization in all three countries, it also takes a closer look at the politics of citizenship education in Denmark and Sweden. Within both areas of integration policy, the countries have diverged to the point of having some of the most different policies in a Western European context. Comparing the Scandinavian countries presents us with a puzzle. How can it be that three countries who share rather similar comprehensive, universal welfare states, political systems and traditions of consensus, and a commitment to being culturally progressive in matters of sexuality, gender equality, and life style, have approached immigrant integration so differently? The dissertation situates the Scandinavian comparison within the broader discussions about the civic turn in West European immigrant integration policies. Against the diagnosis of liberal convergence, it is argued that there has not been a retreat from nationalism in Scandinavian politics, but that the commonly used ethnic-civic distinction cannot capture the relevant differences in national self-understandings.

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