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Muslims must embrace our values: a critical analysis of the debate on Muslim integration in France, Germany, and the UK

Scalvini, Marco (2013) Muslims must embrace our values: a critical analysis of the debate on Muslim integration in France, Germany, and the UK. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The continuing difficulty of integrating immigrants, especially Muslims, has led many European political leaders to question the merits of multiculturalism and to promote more commitment towards national values and social cohesion. This thesis aims to examine how these national discourses are interconnected and why they have an exclusionary character. Starting from this point, I draw on a theoretical approach based on a model of mediatised convergence in the European public sphere. Secondly, I reconstruct through a critical discourse analysis, the national debates that have emerged across Europe. I then identify commonalities, by looking into the strategies through which these discourses are articulated. Thirdly, I investigate through content analysis, how press coverage has amplified and reinforced this debate. The cross-national comparison demonstrates a shared concern for how multicultural policies have passively tolerated and encouraged Muslim immigrants to live in self-segregated and isolated communities. This nexus between securitisation and multiculturalism targets first and second generation of Muslims who are assumed, because of their religious and cultural identity, to have authoritarian customs and illiberal values. Conversely, embracing those secular and liberal values that characterise the European ethos is exemplified as the best practice to deal with a correct and safe integration. However, this strategy to reduce integration towards a process of assimilation to majority norms and values risks creating further exclusion, rather than enhancing social cohesion and political belonging. The analysis of national press coverage confirms a shared way of thinking and talking about integration. Despite the political specificity of each national debate, simultaneous coverage across Europe develops reciprocal discursive references on how to achieve community cohesion and manage the migration of Muslims. It can be claimed, therefore, that the more discourses converge across national public spheres, the more they are perceived as stable and consensual. Hence, convergence is a crucial factor to be considered because it allows us to define the boundaries of the European public sphere. However, the study of this transnational debate is crucial not only for scholars of media and communication, but also of European policies and immigration, as this debate involves a larger discussion on how to manage the complexity of relationships between immigrant minorities and the majority in Europe.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Marco Scalvini
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Media and Communications
Supervisor: Chouliaraki, Lilie and Jackson-Preece, Jennifer
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/774

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