Module II. The European Multinational and Multicultural Identity: assets and tensions, immigration and integration policies

1. Introduction

To speak of Europe as an invention is to stress the ways in which it has been constructed in a historical process… (it is) in fact a historically fabricated reality of ever-changing forms and dynamics. Most of Europe is only retrospectively European…. Defining Europe is then fraught with problems, for Europe is a protean idea and not something self-evident. It is erroneous to regard Europe as merely a region for the simple reason that it means different things to different people in different contexts”.

Gerard Delanty

In this module we will first explore the debate on the different ideas about what constitutes a European identity, and seek how these relate to concepts such as the nation state, nationality, and citizenship. Topics and key questions:

  1. What are the different definitions and concepts?
  2. Is there evidence to be found of a European identity?
  3. What is the balance between the supranational vs. the intergovernmental visions, between particularist and cosmopolitan world views.

Different lines of research and scholarly works will be presented.

In the second part of the module we will delve into the topic of immigration and integration policies. After a brief sketch of the immigration situation in Europe, the discussion will focus on the different ways in which European countries are dealing with the issue of immigrants in their societies (integration and/or assimilation policies). Key questions that will be addressed include the following:

  1. What is the quantitative weight of migration on the receiving societies? What are the qualitative transformations?
  2. What are the major European models and trends regarding integration and immigration policies? Examples of failures and successes.
  3. How do we assess the role of ‘multiculturalism’ as a factor of enrichment and understanding between different cultural groups in European society?

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