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Conference Papers Year : 2015

Making the Citizen? The Challenges of Civic Integration Programmes


Many European countries have recently implemented civic integration programmes. This kind of policy requires that newcomers meet integration requirements in order to enter, reside, enjoy social benefits or naturalise in the host country. Migrants are expected to attend language and citizenship courses and/or to take tests after entering in the host country. The immigrant’s failure or non-completion of the programme tends to be sanctioned by refusal of a permit, financial penalties, a loss of social benefits, etc. The content and structure of these programmes vary widely in terms of scope, goals, target groups and institutional actors involved. In this paper, I deal with some crucial questions raised by such policies through the lens of political theory. First, what can be expected from newcomers, in terms of culture, language or skills? Second, I will show that it is relevant to reverse the point of view and to ask: what can be expected from the “old-comers” in order to integrate newcomers? What is the role of the citizenry in making (new) citizens? The question is especially important because integration has been increasingly presented as a ‘two-way process’ or as a ‘contract” between the host society and the immigrants: what does it mean and imply? Third, the mandatory language and country-knowledge requirements are particularly significant in their scope and substance. Such a situation raises new challenges to liberal states that should find a balance between policies seeking social cohesion but being also respectful of the immigrants’ moral autonomy.
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hal-03459923 , version 1 (01-12-2021)



Catherine Xhardez. Making the Citizen? The Challenges of Civic Integration Programmes. 65th PSA Annual International Conference, Mar 2015, Sheffield, United Kingdom. ⟨hal-03459923⟩
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