Gilliam, Laura. Being Muslim “without a fuss”: Relaxed religiosity and conditional inclusion in Danish schools and society. (2022). [PDF]

Gilliam, Laura. Being Muslim “without a fuss”: Relaxed religiosity and conditional inclusion in Danish schools and society. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 45(6), 2022, 1096–1114.

The ethnic boundary between majority Danes and Muslim minorities has become increasingly impermeable in recent decades, restricting Muslim minorities to conditional inclusion, adapting to the majority’s conditions of good citizenship. This article looks at the “conditions of inclusion” for Muslim pupils in multi-ethnic schools, focusing on what pupils express as an ideal of being a “relaxed Muslim”. This condition of “relaxed” religiosity reflects the dominant discourse on integration in Denmark with its anxiety about Islamism and demands that Muslims adjust to the moderate secularism that typifies Danish society. Yet it is argued that it also points to a more general condition of being a good minority citizen in the Danish welfare society and its institutions, as well as in other similar societies, linked to ensuring the smooth running of everyday practices, ideas about civilized interaction, and maintaining the cultural dominance of the majority, and thus to a majoritydefined harmony.



Chatzopoulos, Ioannis. Sport, migration and integration in Denmark: Local political responses and policies in Copenhagen. (2022).

Chatzopoulos, Ioannis. Sport, migration and integration in Denmark: Local political responses and policies in Copenhagen. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 14(1), 2022, 53–69.

Denmark in recent years has seen a significant increase in immigration. The topic has become a major political issue, due mainly to the rise of far-right political parties that advocate not only for a more restrictive immigration policy, but also for an assimilation strategy for those migrants currently resident in the country. Using the Advocacy Coalition Framework (ACF), the aim of this article is to analyse the role of sport policy in Copenhagen as an instrument for the social integration of migrants between 2010 and 2018. This paper focuses on female immigrants and women-only swimming, exploring the impact on policy of the interactions between national, municipal and sports club policy actors. The main findings of the research are: a) sport was identified in Copenhagen as an important vehicle for the inclusion of recent migrants into communal associationalist life and their introduction to Danish societal values and norms; b) the Municipality of Copenhagen was granted by central government considerable autonomy in interpreting their responsibilities and collaborated closely with sports clubs in the design and delivery of sports programmes related to immigrants; c) two competing advocacy coalitions were identified, one favouring inclusion through assimilation and the other integration through multiculturalism; d) the assimilationist coalition was composed of centre-right and far-right political parties. As these parties controlled the municipal sport department, it was the sports clubs that pursued a multicultural policy; and e) the issue of gender-segregated swimming was a focal issue for disputes over approaches to integration.


Pedersen, Sofie, Poster Children of Integration and the Question of Being a ‘Good Danish Muslim’. (2017) [PDF]

Pedersen, Sofie, Poster Children of Integration and the Question of Being a ‘Good Danish Muslim’, Scandinavian Journal of Islamic Studies, 11.1 (2017), 30–47

This article explores the intersection of subjectivity construction among Muslim youth with Danish welfare state governmentality. More specifically, it looks at campaigns in which successful professionals and students of non-Western descent, primarily Muslims, are used strategically as role models to target ethnic minorities in general, and Muslims in particular. By communicating their life stories, the role models become real life examples of successful integration meant to inspire others to follow their path. Thus the campaigns are a part of the prevalent discourse that views minorities (i.e. non-Danish and non-Christian) as particularly problematic to integrate and therefore needing special attention for becoming “compatible” with the values of the Danish welfare state. Taking its departure in these campaigns and applying a governmentality-inspired approach, this paper seeks to investigate normative state-prescribed forms of being a “good Danish Muslim.” It analyses how this image is being constructed and negotiated in a matrix combining welfare state policies and individual self-interpretation.

Denne artikel undersøger krydsfeltet mellem subjektivitetskonstruktion blandt unge muslimer og den danske velfærdsstats governmentalitet. Mere specifikt ser artiklen på kampagner, hvor unge studerende og erhvervsaktive med anden etnisk baggrund end dansk, primært muslimer, bruges strategisk som rollemodeller for etniske minoriteter generelt og muslimer i særdeleshed. Ved at fortælle egne livshistorier bliver rollemodellerne levende eksempler på succesfuld integration til inspiration for andre. Således er kampagnerne del af en eksisterende diskurs, inden for hvilken minoriteter (altså ikke-danske og ikke-kristne) anses for at være særligt vanskelige at integrere og dermed en gruppe, der kalder på en særlig indsats for at blive “kompatible” med den danske velfærdsstats værdier. Med afsæt i disse kampagner og en governmentalitetsinspireret analyse undersøger denne artikel sta tens normative bud på, hvordan man kan være “en god dansk muslim”. Analysen viser, hvorledes denne forestilling konstrueres og forhandles i et felt, der forbinder velfærdsstatens forskrifter og individers selvfortolkning.



Schierup, Carl‐Ulrich, The Right to Be Different: Multiculturalism and the Racialization of Scandinavian Welfare Politics; The Case of Denmark. (1994)

Schierup, Carl‐Ulrich, The Right to Be Different: Multiculturalism and the Racialization of Scandinavian Welfare Politics; The Case of Denmark, Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 7.3 (1994), 277–88

‘Multiculturalism’ as an influential ideology for structuring ethnic relations has become exposed to increasing critique also in the Scandinavian context. The paper discusses a racialized political debate, legislation, and institutional practices, taking Denmark as the prime example. An increasingly ‘dual welfare’ is becoming legitimized through a hegemonic culturalized language, consistently interpreting ‘the right to be different’ as ‘being different’, and ‘being different’ as being ‘non‐integrated’. In a society where public debate on ethnic and racial discrimination is less than rudimentary, tolerant claims of multiculturalist relativism are effectively turned upside down in the service of neo‐racism, the preachings of which are imperceptibly becoming adopted as the conventional wisdom. This calls for a discussion on ‘politics of recognition’ which brings the debate on the universalism and particularity out of the abstract, while focusing on the vicissitudes of contemporary democracy in a changing welfare state.


Vertelyté, Manté, ‘Why Are They Not Friends?’ (2022) [PDF]

Vertelyté, Manté, ‘Why Are They Not Friends?’, Nordic Journal of Social Research, 13.1 (2022), 10–22

Young people’s friendships have been central to debates around minority integration in Danish society. Specifically, through schooling, students with diverse racialised-ethnic backgrounds are expected to form bonds and connections as a way to strengthen social cohesion and unity. Drawing from ethnographic interviews with education professionals in Danish schooling contexts (a comprehensive school and extracurricular schooling state institutions), this article deploys the concept of intimate technology of concern to explore how and with what effects concerns over young people’s friendships are implicated in welfare value projects of minority integration. Contributing to the literature on friendship, understood as a regulatory modality of intimacy, the article shows how, racialised figuring of friendship as both a threat and a solution, young people’s social relations are celebrated as achievements of integration and social mixing.

Keywords friendship intimate technology of concern racialisation Denmark education integration.


Vitus, Kathrine, and Frederikke Jarlby, Between Integration and Repatriation – Frontline Experiences of How Conflicting Immigrant Integration Policies Hamper the Integration of Young Refugees in Denmark. (2022)

Vitus, Kathrine, and Frederikke Jarlby, Between Integration and Repatriation – Frontline Experiences of How Conflicting Immigrant Integration Policies Hamper the Integration of Young Refugees in Denmark, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 48.7 (2022), 1496–1514

Confronted with global migration pressures, European countries face the dual challenges of border control and the incorporation of immigrants into society. Danish immigration and integration policies aim to restrict the influx of refugees and to develop newcomers’ sense of civic responsibility. We analyse 2017 policy problematisations and local integration policy workers’ experiences with integrating young, newly arrived refugees under the mandatory municipal integration programme. We find that these policies lead to paradoxical effects when integration goals interact with immigration laws that create precarious temporary living conditions. Moreover, when integration is problematised as an exclusive problem of refugees’ employability and prompt economic self-sufficiency. The policy problematisations neglect the needs of young refugees by overlooking critical aspects of social and cultural integration and obscuring the possibilities for individually tailored services, which, from frontline integration workers’ perspective, are necessary to realise young refugees’ integration.


Sahi̇n, Merve, The Development of the Turkish Minority’s Social Challenges in Denmark from 1970 to 2021, for the Purpose of Integration (2022). [PDF]

Sahi̇n, Merve, The Development of the Turkish Minority’s Social Challenges in Denmark from 1970 to 2021, for the Purpose of Integration, Turkish Journal of Diaspora Studies, 2.1 (2022), 55–72.

Beginning in the 1960’s, Denmark recruited Turkish guest workers. Today, the Turkish minority is Denmark’s largest minority group from non-western countries. This article examines the social challenges of the Turkish minority in Denmark from 1970 to 2021, and their integration during this period. This study uses several methods to obtain insight into the integration process of Turkish immigrants over three generations in Denmark and the challenges they faced and continue to face. In addition to the source criticism and a comprehensive literature review, this study uses qualitative and quantitative methods to understand Turkish immigrants’ immigration processes. Qualitative and quantitative analysis in the field of Danish historical research, specifically the area concerning the Turkish minority are not adequately covered by the existing literature. This study finds that all three generations of the Turkish minority in Denmark experienced social challenges in several areas that are related to each other, and these social challenges have an effect on their integration status. Some social challenges have decreased over generations but specifically discrimination and racism have not.


Koefoed, Lasse, Kirsten Simonsen, and Anniken Førde, Everyday Hospitality and Politics. (2021) [PDF]

Koefoed, Lasse, Kirsten Simonsen, and Anniken Førde, Everyday Hospitality and Politics, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, 11.4 (2021), 444–58.

The article explores everyday hospitality and politics through inclusive forms of integration initiatives in everyday life and urban communities in Denmark and Norway. It investigates how local initiatives and creative social strategies by local actors can empower and include refugees and immigrants in local communities. This article is based on participant observations of urban communities in Denmark and Norway working to welcome refugees and create new cross-cultural meeting places. We argue that people mobilize and take action when faced with emergency, and that the many welcome initiatives organized around theatre, food, dance and music can rework difference. The cases relate to the discussion of hospitality, the production of meaningful meeting places in a local context and the embodied encounters promoted by these activities. This article discusses everyday hospitality and politics in light of the transition in the Nordic welfare states, which has made the debate around inclusion of refugees and immigrants in local communities and the welfare state centre.


Jensen, Tina Gudrun. Sameksistens: hverdagsliv og naboskab i et multietnisk boligområde. (2016)

Jensen, Tina Gudrun. Sameksistens: hverdagsliv og naboskab i et multietnisk boligområde. 2016.

I den offentlige debat om indvandring og integration tales der ofte om ghettodannelse og parallelsamfund , og der skelnes tydeligt mellem os og dem . Her fremstilles etniske grupper som segregerede enklaver i samfundet, men virkeligheden er langt mere nuanceret. Mange af de boligområder, der hentydes til, er nemlig multietniske boligområder, og her bor bl.a. mange etniske danskere.  I både den offentlige debat og i forskningen om indvandring og integration i urbane rum i Danmark overser man ofte den interaktion, der foregår mellem mennesker med forskellige etniske baggrunde. Denne bog handler netop om interetniske relationer i sociale boligområder.  Hermed udfylder bogen et hul i dansk forskning om indvandring og integration og lægger sig op ad den fremvoksende internationale antropologiske, sociologiske og humangeografiske litteratur om udfoldelsen af interetniske relationer i hverdagsliv.  Bogen er baseret på et etnografisk feltarbejde i Grønnevang i form af deltagerobservation og interview med beboere og andre personer i området. Grønnevang er et større multietnisk socialt boligområde i København, som er beboet af omkring 50 procent etniske danskere og 50 procent etniske minoriteter. Gennem autentiske historier beskriver bogen de personer, der lever i boligområdet, og deres indbyrdes relationer.  Bogens omdrejningspunkter er naboskabets forskelligartede relationer og hverdagspraksisser samt magtforholdet mellem beboere, som udgør etnisk minoritet og majoritet.

Jensen, Tina Gudrun. Naboskab i multietniske boligområder. (2016) [PDF]

Jensen, Tina Gudrun. Naboskab i multietniske boligområder. København: Boligsocialnet, 2016.

Denne bog stiller skarpt på naboskab blandt beboere med forskellige etniske baggrunde, som lever i et såkaldt ’multietnisk boligområde’. ’Multietnisk’ er en betegnelse, som anvendes om boligområder, hvor andelen af beboere med etnisk minoritetsbaggrund overstiger 40 %.  Bogen henvender sig først og fremmest til forskellige praktikere på området, som for eksempel er beskæftiget inden for det boligsociale område, byplanlægning, arkitektur samt aktører på lokale og nationale politikområder.  Bogen er et resultat af et forskningsprojekt, der omhandler interetniske naboskabsrelationer. Projektet er en del af en forskningsalliance om ”social sammenhængskraft og etnisk diversitet”, som blev gennemført i 2010-2015.  Bogen beskæftiger sig med de sociale hverdagspraksisser, som beboere i multietniske boligområder deler, blandt andet som naboerne. Fokus ligger i den forbindelse især på sted, rum, hverdagsliv og sociale relationer. Hermed bidrager bogen med ny empirisk såvel som teoretisk viden om, hvad det indebærer at leve sammen i et multietnisk boligområde. Emnet fremhæves indledningsvist som et overset emne i nyere forskning og i den offentlige debat om indvandring og integration i byrum i Danmark.  Et af bogens hovedargumenter er, at livet i et multietnisk boligområde indebærer mindre drama end mange fremstillinger ofte peger på.  Bogen peger i stedet på, at denne slags boligområder omfatter en indre styrke og robusthed, fordi der er mange forskellige former for dagligdagskontakt mellem beboerne, hvor det at ’dele steder’ kan medvirke til at fremme relationer.


Jensen, Kristian Kriegbaum. ‘What Can and Cannot Be Willed: How Politicians Talk about National Identity and Immigrants’. (2014) [PDF]

Jensen, Kristian Kriegbaum. ‘What Can and Cannot Be Willed: How Politicians Talk about National Identity and Immigrants’. Nations and Nationalism, vol. 20, no. 3, Wiley-Blackwell, 2014.

The ethnic-civic framework remains widely used in nationalism research. However, in the context of European immigrant integration politics, where almost all ‘nation talk’ is occurring in civic and liberal registers, the framework has a hard time identifying how conceptions of national identity brought forth in political debate differ in their exclusionary potential. This leads some to the conclusion that national identity is losing explanatory power. Building on the insights of Oliver Zimmer, I argue that we may find a different picture if we treat cultural content and logic of boundary construction – two parameters conflated in the ethnic-civic framework – as two distinct analytical levels. The framework I propose focuses on an individual and collective dimension of logic of boundary construction that together constitute the inclusionary/exclusionary core of national identity. The framework is tested on the political debate on immigrant integration in Denmark and Norway in selected years. Indeed, the framework enables us to move beyond the widespread idea that Danish politicians subscribe to an ethnic conception of the nation, while Norwegian political thought is somewhere in between an ethnic and civic conception. The true difference is that Danish politicians, unlike their Norwegian counterparts, do not acknowledge the collective self-understanding as an object of political action.



Borevi, Karin, Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen, and Per Mouritsen. ‘The Civic Turn of Immigrant Integration Policies in the Scandinavian Welfare States’. (2017) [PDF]

Borevi, Karin, Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen, and Per Mouritsen. ‘The Civic Turn of Immigrant Integration Policies in the Scandinavian Welfare States’. Comparative Migration Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, Physica-Verlag, Dec. 2017.

This special issue addresses the question of how to understand the civic turn within immigrant integration in the West towards programs and instruments, public discourses and political intentions, which aim to condition, incentivize, and shape through socialization immigrants into ‘citizens’. Empirically, it focuses on the less studied Scandinavian cases of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. In this introduction, we situate the contributions to this special issue within the overall debate on civic integration and convergence. We introduce the three cases, critically discuss the (liberal) convergence thesis and its descriptive and explanatory claims, and explain why studying the Scandinavian welfare states can further our understanding of the nature of the civic turn and its driving forces. Before concluding, we discuss whether civic integration policies actually work.



Breidahl, Karen Nielsen, Troels Fage Hedegaard, Kristian Kongshøj, and Christian Albrekt Larsen. Migrants’ Attitudes and the Welfare State: The Danish Melting Pot. (2021)

Breidahl, Karen Nielsen, Troels Fage Hedegaard, Kristian Kongshøj, and Christian Albrekt Larsen. Migrants’ Attitudes and the Welfare State: The Danish Melting Pot. Northampton: Edward Elgar Pub, 2021,

Analysing two major surveys of 14 different migrant groups connected to Danish register data, this insightful book explores what migrants think of the welfare state. It investigates the question of whether migrants assimilate to the ideas of extensive state intervention in markets and families or if they retain the attitudes and values that are prevalent in their countries of origin.The authors examine what various migrant groups from countries including Poland, Romania, Spain, the UK, China, Japan, Turkey, Russia, the US, Pakistan, Lebanon, Iraq and the former-Yugoslavia living in Denmark think about the trustworthiness of state institutions, state responsibility, economic redistribution, female employment and childcare. Chapters also cover the key issues of national identification, social trust and welfare nationalism. Concluding that migrants from diverse backgrounds assimilate well into the welfare attitudes, norms and values of the Danish people in several areas, the book points to the potential assimilative impact of the welfare state. Incorporating new theoretical discussions, this book will be critical reading for academics and students studying migration and welfare states. It will also be a useful resource for comparative migration researchers interested in the impact of the host country context on migrants’ assimilation patterns.

Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘”Hvor dansk skal man være for at være dansk?” Hvordan unge efterkommere af indvandrere fra Mellemøsten oplever mulighederne for at høre til i Danmark’. (2017) [PDF]

Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘”Hvor dansk skal man være for at være dansk?” Hvordan unge efterkommere af indvandrere fra Mellemøsten oplever mulighederne for at høre til i Danmark’. Politica, no. 3, 2017, pp. 312–329.

Forskningen i integration af indvandrere og deres børn interesserer sig typisk for funktionelle og objektive mål, mens der mere sjældent sættes fokus på den identifikationsmæssige integration. På baggrund af dybdegående interviews undersøger jeg, hvordan unge efterkommere af indvandrere fra Mellemøsten opfatter grænsen til det danske, og hvilke konsekvenser dette har for deres følelse af nationalt tilhør. Analysen viser, at der er udbredt konsensus blandt interviewpersonerne om, hvilke markører der ekskluderer en fra det danske. Variationen i graden af nationalt tilhør blandt interviewpersonerne (fra sikker identifikation til dis-identifikation) forklares af, hvordan de opfatter deres egen placering i forhold til grænsen.


Madsen, Lian Malai, Martha Sif Karrebæk, and Janus Spindler Møller, editors. ‘Everyday Languaging: Collaborative Research on the Language Use of Children and Youth’. (2016)

Madsen, Lian Malai, Martha Sif Karrebæk, and Janus Spindler Møller, editors. ‘Everyday Languaging: Collaborative Research on the Language Use of Children and Youth’. De Gruyter Mouton, 2016.

This book contributes to current theory building within applied linguistics and sociolinguistics by looking at the role of language in the lives, realities, and understandings of real children and youth in an urban setting. Collectively the studies amount to a comprehensive account of how urban children and youth construct, reactivate, negotiate, contest, and navigate between different linguistic and sociocultural norms and resources. 


Martha Sif Karrebæk, Lian Malai Madsen and Janus Spindler Møller Introduction—Everyday Languaging: Collaborative research on the language use of children and youth

Martha Sif Karrebæk: Arabs, Arabic and urban languaging: Polycentricity and incipient enregisterment among primary school children in Copenhagen

Liva Hyttel-Sørensen: Gangster talk on the phone – analyses of a mass media parody of a contemporary urban vernacular in Copenhagen and its reception

Andreas Stæhr: Normativity as a social resource in social media practices

Astrid Ag: Rights and wrongs – authority in family interactions

Ulla Lundqvist: Becoming a “smart student”: The emergence and unexpected implications of one child’s social identification

Lamies Nassr: “Well, because we are the One Direction girls” – Popular culture, friendship, and social status in a peer group 

Lian Malai Madsen: ‘The Diva in the room’ – Rap music, education and discourses on integration 

Thomas Rørbeck Nørreby: Ethnic identifications in late modern Copenhagen 

Janus Spindler Møller: Discursive reactions to nationalism among adolescents in Copenhagen

Asif Agha: Growing up bilingual in Copenhagen.

Khawaja, Iram. ‘“Det Muslimske Sofa-Hjørne”: Muslimskhed, Racialisering Og Integration’. (2015)

Khawaja, Iram. ‘“Det Muslimske Sofa-Hjørne”: Muslimskhed, Racialisering Og Integration’. Pæda­gogisk Psykologisk Tidsskrift, vol. 52, no. 2, 2015, pp. 29–38,

In a high-school north of Copenhagen, teachers are expressing concern in regard to the growing number of Muslim students and their way of engaging in the school context. The students are positioning themselves in a separate corner (the sofa-corner) during breaks, and policing each other in regard to religious ideals and demands thus forming an enclave in the larger network of groupings in the high school. This article analyses the concern seen from the point of view of the professional, who in many cases feel that she has no access or any tools to intervene in the forming of the sofa-grouping. The article makes visible how the concern for the proper integration is embedded in certain racialised, religious and social processes of othering, and points towards new perspectives on how it is in practice possible to work with inclusion when one takes the power relational and structural processes of exclusion and othering into consideration.–%C3%A5rgang—2015 .

Hervik, Peter, and Carolina Boe. ‘Integration through Ridicule?’ (2008) [PDF]

Hervik, Peter, and Carolina Boe. ‘Integration through Ridicule?’ Transnational Media Events: The Mohammed Cartoons & the Imagined Clash of Civilizations, Eds. Elisabeth Eide, Risto Kunelius, and Angela Phillips, Göteborg: Nordiskt Informationscenter for, 2008.

Excerpt from introduction:

When the now infamous cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad were published by Denmark’s most powerful newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten,2 the culture editor Flemming Rose wrote that they were deliberately intended “to insult, mock and ridicule” Muslims in Denmark. During the last decade, Jyl-lands-Posten has regularly argued that too much consideration is being shown towards religious feelings and that overt criticism, derogatory comments and ridicule are necessary provocations to accelerate social integration. This is the claim made by Flemming Rose in the above quotation from Ayaan Hirsi Ali. As such, Jyllands-Posten not only asserts its right to publish – it argues that publishing is a duty. The cartoons were published September 30, 2005. Eight months later, Rose justified his act as one of inclusion of Muslims in Denmark, arguing that he had meant to “integrate” “Them” “into the Danish tradition of satire” by “treating them like anyone else”:


Jaffe-Walter, Reva. ‘Coercive Concern: Nationalism, Liberalism, and the Schooling of Muslim Youth.’ (2016)

Jaffe-Walter, Reva. Coercive Concern: Nationalism, Liberalism, and the Schooling of Muslim Youth. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2016.

Many liberal-minded Western democracies pride themselves on their commitments to egalitarianism, the fair treatment of immigrants, and the right to education. These environments would seem to provide a best-case scenario for the reception of immigrant youth. But that is not always the case. Coercive Concern explores how stereotypes of Muslim immigrants in Western liberal societies flow through public schools into everyday interactions, informing how Muslim youth are perceived by teachers and peers. Beyond simply identifying the presence of racialized speech in schools, this book uncovers how coercive assimilation is cloaked in benevolent narratives of care and concern.  Coercive Concern provides an ethnographic critique of the ‘concern’ that animates integration policy in Danish schools. Reva Jaffe-Walter focuses on the experiences of Muslim youth at a public school where over 40% of the student body is of immigrant descent, showing how schools operate as sites of governance. These efforts are led by political leaders who promote national fears of immigrant take-over, by teachers in schools, and by everyday citizens who are concerned about ‘problems’ of immigration. Jaffe-Walter exposes the psychic and material costs immigrant youth endure when living in the shadow of social scrutiny, but she also charts a path forward by uncovering the resources these youth need to attain social mobility and success.

Jaffe-Walter, Reva. ‘“The More We Can Try to Open Them Up, the Better It Will Be for Their Integration”: Integration and the Coercive Assimilation of Muslim Youth’. (2017) [PDF]

Jaffe-Walter, Reva. ‘“The More We Can Try to Open Them Up, the Better It Will Be for Their Integration”: Integration and the Coercive Assimilation of Muslim Youth’. Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, vol. 11, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 63–68. Crossref,

Capitalizing on national anxieties, right wing populist leaders promise to enforce national borders with new constellations of policies that regulate and exclude Muslim bodies. Using the theoretical tool of “technologies of concern” (Jaffe-Walter, 2016), this essay critiques how state security discourses operate through public schools. Drawing on ethnographic research with Muslim youth in a Danish public school and an analysis of European integration policies, the author analyzes how policies and practices that ostensibly support young people’s integration enact everyday violence and coercive assimilation. Highlighting the perspectives of the young people she worked with, the author argues that state efforts to transform Muslim students into acceptable subjects of the nation-state encouraged their alienation and marginalization.



Freiesleben, Anna Mikaela von. ‘Et Danmark af parallelsamfund: segregering, ghettoisering og social sammenhængskraft : parallelsamfundet i dansk diskurs 1968-2013 – fra utopi til dystopi’ (2015) [PDF]

Freiesleben, Anna Mikaela von. Et Danmark af parallelsamfund: segregering, ghettoisering og social sammenhængskraft : parallelsamfundet i dansk diskurs 1968-2013 – fra utopi til dystopi : Ph.d.-afhandling. Diss. Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet, 2015.

The parallel societyin Danish discourse is a concept often taken for granted without further scrutiny. The dominant discourse often portrays the parallel society as a result of ethnic minority segregation, especially Muslim, and thus, as both a hindrance to integration and as a threat to the social cohesion of the classic nation state. This discourse, however,is relatively new; in fact it only enteredDanish debate in the late 1990s. But what is the concept of parallel societies? How is the concept constructed in current Danish discourse? And what is the discursively connection between parallel societies, ethnic minority segregation, ghettoisation and social cohesion? These aresome ofthe questions this dissertation set out to answer.

By combining conceptual historyanddiscourse analysis, the dissertation analyses the concept of the parallel society in Danish discourse in the period from 1968-2013. The analysisreveals that the concept in a Danish context was most likely introducedin 1968 as a political strategy, and offered as another term for the left wing ideals of ‘alternative societies’. Yet, the concept was not very prevalent in Danish discourse until 1998 when the Danish member of the European Parliament, Mogens Camre,re-introduced it. This time, however, the term was used to characterize segregated Muslim communities, which Camre perceived as a threat to the social cohesion of the Danish nation state. This particular understanding of the concept of parallel society bear resemblance withthe German notionof Parallelgesellschaft. Developed during the 1990s, it quicklybecame a political catch phrase in discourses general skeptical towardsimmigration and integrationin Germany. In Denmark, the termwas re-cycled in much the same fashion; as an argument against immigration and multicultural policies, and as a ‘proof’ that integration had failed. In theperiod since the late 1960s,I have identifiedthree main discourses within a Danish usage of the term which I label: the Utopian Discourse, the Descriptive Discourse, and the Dystopian Discourse. I proceed to name the Dystopian Discourse as the dominant discourse in Denmark today. I characterize thisas a discourse about the cultural and/or religious ‘other’,who is perceived to have withdrawn into self-segregated ghettos, thus forming parallel societies which are seen as a hindranceto their integration and thus threatenssocial cohesion.

In order to examine the dominant discourse further, and discuss the link between (self-)segregation, ghettoisation and social cohesion, the dissertation also analyses the concept of the “ghetto”as it developed from Medieval Venice as a denotation of forced Jewish segregation, to poor black neighbourhoods in the United States. The concept of the ghetto then travelled back to Europe,where it became a denotation for socially deprived immigrant neighbourhoods. Ialsoexamine current research within ethnic minority segregationto discuss the link between segregation and (lack of) integration. In order to examine how the discursive linkbetween parallel societies, ethnic minority segregation and social cohesion is created, I further examinepolitical debates from the Danish parliament, Folketinget,andpublic debates, especially focusing on three recent events: The political debate aboutthe so called “Ghetto criteria”,and the public and political debates that followed the so called “Vollsmose-case” and the “Christmas Tree-case” from 2012. Thethreecases position Muslim residents of Danish neighbourhoods as a deviant ‘other’ who has withdrawn into closed parallel societies. Furthermore, the actionsof the ‘Muslim’ residents(storming a local emergency room and voting ‘no’ to a Christmas Tree) is viewed asa result of their neighbourhood, thus marking the neighbourhooda‘spoiled space’. With this dissertation I hope to cast new light upon a concept many considers as a truism, andopen the field for other discourses, interpretations, and discussions.


Parallelsamfundet bliver ofte taget for givet i dansk diskurs som en betegnelse for segregerede indvandrersamfund (fortrinsvis muslimske) med ’andre’ normer og værdieroguden kontakt til det omgivende majoritetssamfund. Parallelsamfundet opfattes derfor ofte som en hindring for integration og som en trussel mod sammenhængskraften. Dette er dog en relativt ny måde, at anvende begrebet på. Først fra slutningen af 1990’erne er begrebet parallelsamfund blevet anvendt i denne betydning i en dansk sammenhæng, og først i løbet af 00’erne slog denne diskurs for alvor igennem.

Denne afhandling sætter fokus på begrebet parallelsamfund, der indtil nu har været et ubeskrevet blad i en dansk forskningssammenhæng. Med udgangspunkt i begrebshistorie og diskursanalyse spørger denne afhandling blandt andet: På hvilken måde begrebet parallelsamfund er blevet konstrueret diskursivt i den danske politiske og offentlige debat i perioden 1968-2013, herunder, hvornår er det opstået og,hvorledes hardettransformeret sig? Hvilken diskurs om parallelsamfund er dominerende i dag? Hvordanoghvornår erden gledet ind i sproget som en selvfølgelighed? Og sidst men ikke mindst, hvordan hænger parallelsamfund i denne dominerende diskurs sammen med forståelser af etniske minoriteters boligmæssige segregering, ghettoisering og social sammenhængskraft?

Analysen anskueliggør, at begrebet i en dansk kontekst blev introducereti 1968 som en politisk strategi, der skulle bruges som et alternativt begreb til venstrefløjens ’alternative samfund’. Det var dogsandsynligvisikke særligt fremtrædende i dansk diskurs indtil slutningen af 1990’erne, hvor Mogens Camre, dengang medlem af Europaparlamentet for Socialdemokraterne, genintroducerede begrebet som en betegnelse for segregerede indvandrersamfund, som han så som udgørende en trussel mod den danske nationalstat. Denne særlige forståelse af parallelsamfundet har meget tilfælles med det tyske begreb Parallelgesellschaft, der blev udviklet i midten af 1990’erne. Det var hurtigt blevet et politisk slagord i indvandrerkritiske debatter i Tyskland. I Danmark bruges begrebet i dag på stort set samme måde: som et argument mod indvandring og multikulturalisme, og som et ’bevis’ for, at integrationen har fejlet. Begrebet har derfor i en dansk kontekst transformeret sig fra et (i teorien) værdifrit sociologisk begreb til en normativog politiseret term. Jeg identificerer tre diskurser, der er blevet aktiverede i perioden 1968-2013, som jeg benævner: den utopiske diskurs,den deskriptivediskursog den dystopiske diskurs, og jeg udpegerden dystopiske diskurs somden dominerende diskurs i dag. Det er denne diskurs, der oftestaktiveres i debatter om indvandring og integration, som et billede på selvsegregering, ghettoisering og mangel på sammenhængskraft.

For at kunne studere denne diskursive konstruktion yderligere, undersøger afhandlingen dernæst: (1) ghettobegrebet sådan som det har udviklet sig siden middelalderens Venedig, over USA og til aktuelle danske og udenlandske debatter om ghettoisering. (2) Den aktuelle forskning inden for boligmæssig segregering, og (3) politiske og offentlige diskurser om ghettoisering og parallelsamfund. Disse diskurser tager afsæt i tre aktuelle sager: (a) den politiske debat om ghettokriterierne, med særligt fokus på det såkaldte ’etnicitetskriterium’. Samtde politiske og offentlige debatter om (b) Vollsmosesagenog (c) Juletræssagen, beggefra 2012. Disse debatter konstruerer bl.a. det multietniske boligområde som et ’spoiled space’, og ser beboernes handlinger (”parallelsamfund”, angreb på en skadestue og afvisningen af et juletræ) som et resultat afderes boligområde (ghettoen).


Koefoed, Lasse Martin, and Kirsten Simonsen. ‘“I Feel Danish but…”: A Case Study on National Identity Formation and Ambivalence’. (2013) [PDF]

Koefoed, Lasse Martin, and Kirsten Simonsen. ‘“I Feel Danish but…”: A Case Study on National Identity Formation and Ambivalence’. Geographica Helvetica, vol. 68, no. 3, Copernicus GmbH, Nov. 2013, pp. 213–222.

Non-western minorities in Europe, one can argue, are experiencing particularly vulnerable processes of subjectification and identification. They are often caught between double processes of inclusion/exclusion, integration/segregation or identification/estrangement. This article explores some of the complex and ambiguous processes of identification within this group, in connection with development of the spatial identity of Danishness. It starts with a short theoretical pinning down of the figure of “the stranger” working as a basis for the empirical analysis. Organised in three sections, each interpreting a specific narrative of identification, the analysis subsequently explores processes and problems of identity formation within a minority group increasingly designated as “strangers” within the Danish nation state. The article concludes on the different ways in which uncertainty and ambivalence infiltrate the identity formation.


Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘What It Means to (Not) Belong: A Case Study of How Boundary Perceptions Affect Second-Generation Immigrants’ Attachments to the Nation’. (2018)

Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘What It Means to (Not) Belong: A Case Study of How Boundary Perceptions Affect Second-Generation Immigrants’ Attachments to the Nation’. Sociological Forum, vol. 33, no. 1, 2018, pp. 118–138.

Across Europe, the symbolic boundaries drawn against Muslim/Middle Eastern immigrants and their children are increasingly rigid and exclusive. While there is broad agreement in the literature that external symbolic boundaries matter for individuals’ self-identifications, the process by which boundaries translate into experiences of (not) belonging is theoretically underdeveloped and empirically understudied. Through inductive analysis of in-depth interviews with second-generation immigrants of Middle Eastern descent in Denmark, this study contributes to the literature by examining boundary perceptions as the mediating link between externally drawn boundaries and subjectively felt belonging. The analysis demonstrates widespread agreement in interviewees’ perception of a bright boundary. At the same time, however, there is variation in the degree of belonging, which is explained by the interviewees’ perceptions of their own position in relation to the boundary. A central contribution of the study is a suggested reconceptualization of the concept of belonging to improve our understanding of the complexity of how second-generation immigrants simultaneously feel attachment to and distance from the nation.


Jørgensen, Martin Bak, and Trine Lund Thomsen. ‘“Needed but Undeserving”: Contestations of Entitlement in the Danish Policy Framework on Migration and Integration’. (2018)

Jørgensen, Martin Bak, and Trine Lund Thomsen. ‘“Needed but Undeserving”: Contestations of Entitlement in the Danish Policy Framework on Migration and Integration’. Diversity and Contestations over Nationalism in Europe and Canada, Eds. John Erik Fossum, Riva Kastoryano, and Birte Siim, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2018, 337–364.

This chapter investigates how entitlement is being narratively framed through contestations and negotiations in the policy regimes on labour migration. The chapter focuses particularly on the case of Denmark. It has been argued that the Nordic welfare states can be characterised as expressions of a universal welfare state; however, when it comes to the Nordic immigration regimes, there is less similarity. Contrary to studies emphasising the role of right-wing populist parties, our claim is that we find a decreasing level of contestation among the political parties and increasing support of welfare chauvinism. Furthermore, the chapter argues that we have seen an increased culturalisation becoming the basis for entitlement and access and thus creating new stratifications of exclusion and inclusion.


Juhl Jørgensen, Frederik. How to Develop Policies That Foster Refugee Integration and Are Supported by Voters. (2020) [PDF]

Juhl Jørgensen, Frederik. How to Develop Policies That Foster Refugee Integration and Are Supported by Voters. Dissertation. Aarhus University, 2020,

This dissertation contributes to our understanding of a fundamental policy challenge that refugee-receiving countries face: how to develop policies that foster integration and are supported by voters. It splits this challenge into two. On the one hand, there is the policy goal of promoting integration. This leads to research question 1: how does integration policies affect refugee integration. On the other hand, policy makers face the electoral constraint that policies need to be supported by voters. This leads to research question 2: does refugees’ integration success or failure affect public support for policy. The dissertation takes its theoretical point of departure in two contrasting theoretical paradigms that structure the debates about integration policy. One paradigm, argues that strict policies—such as limited benefits or forced placement—promote integration. The contrasting paradigm, holds that lenient policies—like equal benefits or voluntary placement—catalyze social mobility and integration. I study these contrasting expectations in the context of two Danish policy reforms: the start help policy and the forced placement policy. Combined, these policies have formed the backbone of Danish integration policy for the past two decades. The start help policy lowered refugees’ social assistance benefits by up to 50 percent for new refugees who obtained residency after July 1 2002. The forced placement policy fundamentally changed the Danish dispersal system as of January 1 1999: new refugees who obtained residency after this date were subject to forced placement, whereas refugees who arrived earlier were placed on a voluntary basis. I exploit these cutoffs in regression dis- continuity designs that just like controlled randomized experiments control for all confounding factors by design. The reforms provide rigorous research designs (i.e., natural experiments) for causal identification. My data are based on the Danish national registers and combine information about the treatments (i.e., the cutoffs) with information on relevant integration outcomes. Overall, the findings show that the start help and forced placement policy are too strict if the aim is to maximize integration. For policy design, this means that policy makers should reassess current policies: they should pro- vide refugees with equal benefits to prevent negative effects from economic deprivation and remove restrictions on relocation to leverage synergy effects between individual characteristics and place characteristics. Theoretically, the findings support the paradigm, which argues that equal benefits and voluntary placement catalyze social mobility and integration. These results align with recent studies, which show that less restrictive policies—i.e., fewer restrictions 87 on citizenship acquisition (Hainmueller et al. 2015; 2017a; 2019), faster processing of asylum applications (Hainmueller et al. 2016; Hvidtfeldt et al. 2018), protection of unauthorized immigrants (Orrenius and Zavodny 2012; Hainmueller et al. 2017b), and fewer restrictions on asylum seekers’ possibility of employment (Marbach et al. 2018)—are catalysts of integration. In spite of this evidence, we continuously experience that policy makers tighten integration policies and thereby decrease refugees’ chances of success- ful integration. One plausible reason for the mismatch between the supply of policies and the aim of maximizing integration is that domestic voters demand strict policies (Lawrence and Sides 2014; Hopkins et al. 2019). This constrains policy makers’ ability to deliver policies that achieve the goal of promoting integration. The last part of the dissertation moves on to study this policy constraint and explores strategies that can potentially create leeway to develop less strict policies that would promote integration. This part of the dissertation examines whether it is possible to promote citizens preferences regarding integration policy by providing them with information about refugees’ actual integration success or failure. In particular, we conduct a large-scale survey experiment that isolates the effects of correct information about non-Western immigrants’ welfare dependency rates, their crime rates, and their overall size in relation to the total population. Two opposing views structure the theoretical expectations to the impacts of this type of information. One view that draws on Bayesian learning models argues that citizens use information to update their evaluations of immigrants’ integration performance into the host society. In this logic, the provision of information may be expected to promote more positive preferences regarding policy (Sides and Citrin 2007; Nadeau et al. 1993). Another view holds that people acknowledge correct information and update their factual beliefs, but reinterpret the information in a selective fashion that justifies their existing opinions (Gaines et al. 2007). In this logic, the provision of information has little, if any, influence on citizens’ policy preferences. In line with previous work, the findings first show that citizens’ are very skeptical of non-Western immigrants and markedly exaggerate problems related to immigration. In addition, there is a strong correlation between skepticism and support for anti-immigration policies. This demonstrates that pol- icy makers indeed face pronounced electoral constraints when designing integration policy. Second, the results demonstrate that while participants update their factual beliefs in light of correct information, they remain unwilling to change their policy preferences. These findings support conclusions from ear- lier work (Lawrence and Sides 2014; Hopkins et al. 2019). As a novel finding, we show that the link between facts and policy beliefs breaks down because people interpret the correct information in a belief-consistent manner that al- lows them to avoid using the new information to guide their policy prefer- ences. Overall, this means policy makers seemingly cannot rely on “explaining the facts” as a strategy to promote more favorable integration policy views and thereby create leeway to develop less strict policies that would foster integra- tion.

Dansk resumé Lande der modtager flygtninge står over for den fundamentale politiske ud- fordring: hvordan udvikles politikker der fremmer integrationen og som samtidig bakkes op af vælgerne. Afhandlingen bidrager til forståelsen af problemstilling, og inddeler udfordringen i to forskningsspørgsmål. På den ene side er der målet om at udvikle politikker, der fremmer integrationen, hvilket fører til forskningsspørgsmål 1: hvordan påvirker integrationspolitikker flygtninges integration. På den anden side begrænses politiske beslutningstagere af, at det er nødvendigt at politikkerne møder opbakning i befolkningen. Dette fører til forskningsspørgsmål 2: påvirker flygtninges integrationssucces eller -fiasko befolkningens opbakningen til policy. Afhandlingen tager sit teoretiske afsæt i to modsatrettede teoretiske paradigmer, som ofte strukturerer debatten omhandlende integrationspolitik. Det første paradigme argumenterer for, at strengere politikker, såsom begrænset adgang til overførselsindkomster eller tvungen placering, fremmer integrationen. Det andet paradigme argumenterer modsat for, at mindre strenge politikker, såsom lige adgang til overførselsindkomster eller frivillig placering, fremskynder social mobilitet og integration. Til at studere disse modsatrettede forventninger anvender jeg henholdsvis den danske starthjælpsreform og reformen af den danske placeringspolitik, der tilsammen har udgjort rygraden af dansk integrationspolitik de seneste to årtier. Starthjælpspolitikken nedsatte flygtninges overførselsindkomst med op til 50 procent for nye flygtninge, der opnåede opholdstilladelse efter 1. juli 2002. Den danske placeringspolitik blev fundamentalt ændret fra 1. januar 1999, hvor spredningen af flygtninge overgik fra et frivilligt til tvunget regime. Jeg udnytter disse tærskler i regressionsdiskontinuitetsdesigns, der ligesom randomiserede eksperimenter per konstruktion kontrollerer for alternative forklaringer. Reformerne udgør dermed naturlige eksperimenter og stringente forskningsdesigns for kausal inferens. Mit data er baseret på de national danske registre og kombinerer information omkring reformernes tærskelværdier med information omkring relevante integrationsvariable. Overordnet viser resultaterne, at starthjælpen og tvungen placering er for stramme, såfremt målet er, at fremme integrationen. For policy betyder det, at de politiske beslutningstagere bør genoverveje disse politikker. Konkret bør de give flygtninge ret til regulære overførselsindkomster for at forhindre de negative konsekvenser der følger af økonomiske afsavn. Endvidere bør de fjerne den tvungne placering, der forhindrer udnyttelsen af potentielle positive synergieffekter, der måtte være mellem flygtninges og deres placerings karakteristika. Teoretisk støtter resultaterne det andet paradigme, der argumenterer for, at lige overførselsindkomster og frivillig placering fremskynder social mobilitet og integration. Resultaterne flugter ned den seneste forskning, der viser, at færre begrænsninger på erhvervelsen af statsborgerskab (Hainmueller et al. 2015; 2017a; 2019), hurtigere behandling af asylansøgninger (Hainmueller et al. 2016; Hvidtfeldt et al. 2018), beskyttelse af illegale indva drer (Orrenius and Zavodny 2012; Hainmueller et al. 2017b), samt færre begrænsninger af asylansøgeres muligheder for at arbejde (Marbach et al. 2018) fremmer integrationen. På trods af disse resultater oplever vi en stadig stigende tendens til, at de politiske beslutningstagere strammer forskellige integrationspolitikker. Der- med besværliggør de faktisk flygtninges integration fremfor at hjælpe den på vej. En potentiel årsag til dette misforhold mellem målet om at fremme integrationen og politikudbuddet er, at vælgerne rent faktisk efterspørger disse politikker (Lawrence and Sides 2014; Hopkins et al. 2019), og dermed begrænser beslutningstagernes muligheder for at udvikle alternativer, der kan levere på målet om at fremskynde integrationen. Den sidste del af afhandlingen beskæftiger sig med disse vælgermæssige begrænsninger, og udforsker strategier, beslutningstagerne potentielt kan an- vende til at skabe sig selv spillerum til at udvikle politikker, der fremmer integrationen. Denne del af afhandlingen undersøger, om det er muligt at fremme vælgernes præferencer for integrationspolitik ved at præsentere dem for in- formation om flygtninges faktiske integration. Konkret anvender vi et survey-eksperiment til at isolere effekterne af at give vores respondenter korrekt in- formation om ikke-vestlige indvandreres afhængighed af overførselsindkomster, deres kriminalitetsrater samt størrelsen af den ikke-vestlige indvandrer- befolkning relativt til den samlede befolkning. To modsatrette perspektiver strukturerer hvordan denne type information kan forventes at påvirke respondenterne. Det første perspektiv, der baserer sig på bayesianske læringsmodeller, argumenterer for, at vælgere anvender information til at opdatere deres evalueringer af immigranternes faktiske integration. Følgeligt forventes det, at de justerer deres policy præferencer i en mere positiv retning (Sides and Citrin 2007; Nadeau et al. 1993). Det andet perspektiv anerkender at vælgerne måske anvender information til at opdatere deres faktiske overbevisninger, men argumenterer modsat for, at de fortolker information på selektiv vis således de er i stand til at retfærdiggøre deres eksisterende meninger (Gaines et al. 2007). Dermed kan det ikke forventes, at information har nogen effekt på deres policy præferencer. På linje med den eksisterende litteratur viser mine resultater for det første, at vælgerne er meget skeptiske overfor ikke-vestlige indvandrere, og markant overestimerer problemer relaterer til denne immigration. Derudover viser resultaterne, at der er en stærk korrelation mellem at være skeptisk og fore- trække stramme politikker. Samlet viser det, at beslutningstager står overfor markante elektorale begrænsninger i deres overvejelser om udformningen af integrationspolitikker. For det andet viser resultaterne, at vores respondenter er parate til at opdatere deres faktiske overbevisninger i lyset af ny information, men de forbliver modvillige i forhold til at justere deres policy præferencer. Dette underbygger konklusionerne fra tidligere studier i andre kontekster (Lawrence and Sides 2014; Hopkins et al. 2019). Vi viser samtidig, at linket mellem fakta og policy bryder sammen, fordi vores respondenter fortolker den nye information på en måde, der er i overensstemmelse med deres eksisterende meninger, hvilket retfærdiggør at de undgår at anvende den nye information til at guide deres policy præference. Samlet set betyder det, at beslutningstagerne tilsyneladende ikke kan regne med, at det er tilstrækkeligt at for- klare de faktiske forhold, som en strategi til at fremme mere favorable integrationspolitiske holdninger og dermed skabe sig selv et spillerum til at ud- vikle politikker, der fremskynder integrationen.


Lapina, Linda. ‘“Cultivating Integration”? Migrant Space-Making in Urban Gardens’. (2017)

Lapina, Linda. ‘“Cultivating Integration”? Migrant Space-Making in Urban Gardens’. Journal of Intercultural Studies, vol. 38, no. 6, Routledge, Nov. 2017, pp. 621–636.

Organized cultural encounters manage difference, conduct, time and space. Yet, alternative social spaces emerge besides these scripts. This article explores migrant space-making in integration gardens, an urban gardening association in Copenhagen aiming to ‘dismantle social and cultural boundaries’. The space of the gardens is multilayered. Firstly, it operates as an integration grid – a homogenizing-organized cultural encounter evolving around a foreigner–Dane binary. However, the gardens also emerge as a web of gardening, centered around plants and gardening practices, breaching multiple (hi)stories, locations, relationships, and materialities. The article juxtaposes the spatiotemporal logics of the integration grid and the web of gardening, analyzing the possibilities for action and relating they afford. The analysis contributes to theorizations of organized cultural encounters by highlighting the embodied, affective human and non-human agencies in divergent space-making practices. Discussing these multidirectional spaces, the article links conceptualizations of agency, bodies, affectivity, time and space.