Universiteit Leiden

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Municipal Policies and Practices on Migrant Integration in Postwar Europe from Historical Perspectives

Thursday 13 September 2018
Johan Huizinga
Doelensteeg 16
2311 VL Leiden
Conference Room (2.60)

The centrality of municipalities for migrant integration in postwar European history has largely slipped below the radar in previous historical research on migration. The aim of this conference is to analyze how European cities managed influxes of immigrants from the mid-1940s to 1970s, and then from the 1970s to early 2000s. Prior to 1970s, the management of migrant adaptation and introduction were largely municipal responsibilities. Immigrant integration took place within municipal settings in the absence of national programs and its successes and failures merit scholarly attention. In the 1970s, governments began to perceive the lack of national programs to monitor and manage migrant integration as major gaps in social policy and immigration itself as potentially threatening for social cohesion. National governments constructed their own programs that increasingly intervened in what had been largely autonomous spheres of municipal competence. Our conference asks: what were the consequences of this shift from municipal to national priorities on ground-level programs aimed at migrant populations? How can comparative perspectives of migration at municipal levels inform our knowledge of the successes and pitfalls of different approaches to migrant integration in different national contexts and historical periods? Studies on migrant integration have to date been dominated by sociological perspectives. This conference is organized on the premise that the archive-based rigor and attention to the nuances of change and continuity over time of the history discipline has much to offer contemporary debates on migrant integration in Europe.

Programme and more information

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