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Who has responsibility for refugee and migrant integration?

May 1, 2019

A comprehensive study on integration processes in Western Europe and North America

Refugee and migrant integration is currently one of the most contentious topics in the news. It has become a pressing issue, particularly in Western Europe and North America.

De Gruyter’s new publication “Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant Integration” edited by S. Karly Kehoe, Eva Alisic and Jan-Christoph Heilinger focuses on the complex nature of integration in European countries and Canada. The publication includes voices of persons who have been displaced, those who work to support migrant integration, and scientists who undertake comprehensive research on migration and integration processes past and present.

“The vexed question of responsibility in issues of refugee and migrant integration is one of the most important challenges currently facing Western states,” explains Professor Matthew J. Gibney, from Oxford University and director of the Refugee Studies Centre. “This considered, wide-ranging and multi-disciplinary edited work offers fresh and provocative insights to help us to navigate this turbulent issue.”

Including important perspectives that are often overlooked and ignored, the collection of essays promote an extensive analysis of migrant integration and the pressing need for society to work together.

The open access chapter “De-integration of young Syrian activists in Paris” by Yahya Al-Abdullah from the Central European University in Budapest reflects on the lives of young Syrian activists exiled in Paris. A Syrian exile himself, Al-Abdullah highlights the importance of a refugee’s exile experiences when considering immigration and integration policies.

The book discusses how the heated and often polarizing debates have made it difficult to understand in measured and constructive ways, the actual challenges of realizing an integrated society. These debates occur at governmental levels, through mainstream media, among the wider public via social media, and within migrant communities.

“It is becoming harder to separate genuine challenges from populist alarmism. The intensity of the debates also creates a degree of chaos, which obstructs deeper understanding of what it feels like to be a migrant in a new place where almost everything, including language, social norms, food products, and weather is unfamiliar,” explain the editors of the book.

“Responsibility for Refugee and Migrant Integration” challenges individuals to think about their own role, responsibilities and action in respect to migrant integration. Furthermore, the authors posit that the issues raised may help policy makers learn from important historical comparisons and behavioural science insights.

“This book offers a very important contribution to the ongoing debate on integrating refugees and migrants into societies by gathering insights from different perspectives, experiences from migrants and refugees, and comments from those engaged daily in the work of integration,” says Syrian philosopher Dr Housamedden Darwish from the University of Cologne in Germany.

De Gruyter
Eric Merkel-Sobotta
Tel: +49 30 260 05 304