New Book: Integration of Immigrants and the Theory of Recognition ‘Just Integration’

The manuscript titled Integration of Immigrants and the Theory of Recognition: ‘Just Integration’ (published by Palgrave Macmillan on October 2017) approaches the issue of immigrant integration as a democratic justice problem. Based on Honneth’s recognition theory, it introduces the concept of ‘Just Integration’, which challenges the capacity of the actual recognition order of the host society to include its immigrants as full members.  The study criticizes the current political obsession to restore the social cohesion of the host society in the face of immigration. It argues that this perception inhibits host societies from recognizing their immigrants as individuals who have authentic skills, qualifications and identities in addition to their ethnic, cultural and religious attachments. Finally, in the book, author applies the concept of ‘Just Integration’ to the real pathologies that immigrants/refugees suffer in Canada and Turkey, providing guidelines for progress towards better integration of immigrants within host societies and institutions.


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CONTENTS and Chapter Abstracts:

Introduction: What Is Integration?

The term “integration” is generally used to refer to the ideal of commonality within diversity. Even though the term “integration” has been used rhetorically in a variety—often contradictory—ways, the discursive shifts in the interpretation of the meaning of immigrant integration generally serve for the same practical purpose, which is to protect national values, cohesion, and security in the face of the cultural and ethnic diversity. This study introduces how the interpretation of immigrant integration on the assimilationist-multicultural axis generates fictitious problems and diverts our attention from the structural problems of inequality, discrimination, and political exclusion of immigrants. The main argument is that the dominant approach to the interpretation of integration neglects to question the socio-economic and political barriers to the immigrant integration which are ideologically reproduced to dominate and exclude immigrants in the recognition order of the host society.

Part I The Theory of Just Integration

Theories of Justice, Multiculturalism, and the Theory of Recognition

An introduction to the history of debates about minority rights will be given in order to position the project within political theory literature. Specifically, in addition to a criticism of the theory of multiculturalism, a relational and pluralistic understanding of individual autonomy with reference to recognition theories will be advocated to position immigrant integration as a democratic justice problem. The focus will be on Honneth’s recognition theoretic model, which will be introduced as the most analytically suitable theory to analyze the socio-economic barriers to immigrant integration. An outline of the theory of recognition will show how approaching the issue of immigrant integration from a recognition theoretic perspective can unravel in a more comprehensive manner the economic and social pathologies that create barriers to immigrant integration.

What Is Just Integration?

Through an analysis and an application of Parekh, Tully, and Honneth’s theories of recognition, a new account of “just integration” will be provided based on normative values of inclusion and individualization. The normative problem that the immigrant population created in modern societies today is the direction of the course that the transformation of the political institutions and societal values of the host country should take in the face of cultural pluralism for the sake of justice, inclusion, and equality. This study approaches the ideal of just integration not as for the sake of security or the preservation of liberal values which may be achieved through implementation of specific immigration policies, but as a transformative process through which collective individuals change societal values as equal members of society in the face of misrecognition.

Part II Case Studies: Application of the Just Integration Theory 

Socio-economic Integration of Skilled Immigrants in Canada 

The aim of this chapter is to examine how economic integration mechanisms for immigrants in Canada might systematically devalue immigrant labor, transform their self-esteem, and as a result inhibit their integration into the host society. The higher rates of poverty and unemployment that skilled immigrants experience compared to their Canadian counterparts are identified as a social pathology which can be investigated through an application of recognition theory. The main conclusion of the chapter is that the contradictory situation of highly skilled immigrants in the Canadian economic system emanates from the fact that immigrants are subject to a different recognition order than their Canadian counterparts. Double standards are so invisible that they usually go unnoticed and strengthen the dependence of immigrants on their ethnic groups.

Integration of Syrian Refugees in Turkey

This chapter introduces two interconnected social pathologies that Syrian refugees suffer from in the process of their integration to Turkish society, namely, the discrepancy between legal and public discourses on integration and high rates of employment of Syrian refugees in the informal sectors in Turkey. The contradiction between the legal discourse of harmonization based on rights and the public discourses of generosity and hospitality based on a perception of refugees as “guests” will be examined as a serious barrier to Syrian refugees’ integration to Turkey. Moreover, the reasons behind the high employment rates of Syrians in the informal market, namely, the systematic discrimination in Turkish dual labor market economy, limited language skills, and difficulty in verifying qualifications, will be analyzed to reveal the struggle mechanisms of Syrian refugees against these injustices.

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