Inclusive integration: how can progressives promote social cohesion in divisive times?
We recently held a seminar in London exploring the progressive narratives available to best
discuss integration and look at positive examples of integration from
around Europe - considering what lessons can be learned for the British
context. It was part of an ongoing 12-month research project on immigration and
integration carried out by Policy Network and supported by the Barrow
UK public has been showing heightened concern about immigration for
more than a decade. By early 2016, polls showed it had surpassed the
economy as the number one topic of concern to the British public and was
a key driver behind the vote for Brexit. In other European countries,
the level of concern over immigration has varied over time, but recently
risen dramatically, particularly in those nations on the frontlines of
the refugee crisis.
of the challenge of immigration is concern around identity and
integration, and whether different groups and cultures can be expected
to live harmoniously together. Although the current volume and nature of
immigration differs between European countries, many of the political
and practical challenges faced are similar: progressives in the UK and
on the continent are considering how to fight back against the rise of
right-wing populists and how best to integrate newcomers into their
societies for the benefit of all.