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Reviewed by:
  • Governing diversity: Migrant integration and multiculturalism in North America and Europe ed. by A. Rea, et al.
  • Angéline Escafre-Dublet
Rea A., Rorive I., Bribosia E., Sredanovic D. (eds.), 2018, Governing diversity: Migrant integration and multiculturalism in North America and Europe, Brussels, Éditions de l'Université de Bruxelles, 264 pages.

Based on two research projects funded by Belgium, this work links two recent developments in immigration and integration policy in Europe and North America: the advances made in implementing anti-discrimination policies and the tightening of entry and residence criteria for new arrivals. The book's thesis is that these developments—apparently contradictory in that the first suggests greater openness to diversity, while the second signals greater wariness of it—are in fact part of one and the same process of constructing otherness, a process aimed to pressure individuals to conform to a certain number of common cultural values.

In their introduction, the editors compare how integration policies have changed in Europe with change in North American policies, showing that while there has been some convergence—adoption of multiculturalism in the 1980s, followed by official distancing from it in the late 1990s—the same policies can be developed and applied differently depending on the country, its norms, or the weight of past government choices ('path dependency'). This comparative framework, attentive not only to national but also regional variations, is maintained throughout the book's 11 chapters by 19 authors on Europe and North America.

The first part focuses on different countries' policy responses to the diversity of their populations; specifically, multiculturalism, interculturalism, and anti-discrimination policies. The contributions here take a critical perspective, which they support using a variety of methods. John W. Berry uses the tools of social psychology to show that the established opposition between integration and multiculturalism is excessive when it comes to relations between groups; in his context—Canada—the two notions are 'compatible and actually co-present' in multiculturalism policy. Alejandro Portes and Eric Vickstrom use quantitative analysis to prove that Robert Putnam overestimated the role of minorities' own social participation in their integration process in the United States because minorities' maintaining of intragroup social relations ultimately has little effect on social cohesion in a society itself already highly diverse in many ways. In another analysis of the situation in the United States, David B. Oppenheimer, Swati Prakash, and Rachel Burns adopt a historical perspective on immigration to disprove the widely accepted notion that minority groups integrate into American society through a gradual, universal process, arguing that integration is instead a selective process that first left out African Americans, Chinese, and Japanese, and is now doing the same with Mexican Americans.

Focusing on Quebec, François Crépeau points out the difficulties of implementing multiculturalism there, given the imperative of preserving the French language in the province, highlighting the need to rely on the judiciary since political measures seem so ill-adapted to handling this situation. Against the backdrop of Quebec this time, Emmanuelle Bribosia and Isabelle Rorive find [End Page 556] that legal cases which 'in Canada would have been dealt with under the principle of reasonable accommodation' end up being defined in European courts as 'conflicts between the norm of non-discrimination on the basis of gender and non-discrimination on the basis of religion' (p. 19)—that is, an issue of competing anti-discrimination criteria. This leads them to note a paradox in European Union institutions: their task of preserving diversity among member-states leads them to show favour to majority groups within states to the detriment of the diversity of member-state minority groups. Last, Alejandra Alarcon Henriquez delivers a lesson from a psychology experiment conducted in Belgium, which found that what moves individuals to act when confronted with discrimination is not so much manifestations by other members of their group as the existence in their settlement country of a specific anti-discrimination institution and the expert opinions of its members.

The second part focuses on the toughening of requirements for residence and naturalization in the European Union. In the first chapter, Yves Pascouau compares the integration criteria adopted by 17 member-states, as...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1958-9190
Print ISSN
1634-2941
Pages
pp. 556-557
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-29
Open Access
No
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