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Inclusive integration: how can progressives promote social cohesion in divisive times?

02 December 2016
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 Cadbury Fund.

The 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.

Part 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.

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