Modes of Incorporation full text

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Each immigration country has its own way ofregulating the situation of new- corners, but — as I have argued elsewhere (Castles, 1995; Castles and Miller, 1 998:244—50) — it is possible to summarize three main approaches to incorporation of immigrants into society: assimilation, differential exclusion and multiculturalism.

In older understandings of long-distance migration, newcomers were expected to move permanently and cut offlinks with their place of origin, so that they and their descendants eventually became fully assimilated into the receiving society As a mode of incorporation, assimilation means encouraging immigrants to learn the national language and to fully adopt the social and cu1 rural practices of the receiving communir This involves a transfer of allegiance from the place ofbirth to the new country and the adoption ofa new national identity ‘Farewell to old England for ever’ was the refrain sung by emigrants leaving for the ‘classical immigration countries’ like the United States, Canada and Australia (Castles and Davidson, 2000:Ch. 7). Assimilationist approaches applied in somewhat different contexts in certain European immigration countries after 1945, especially to people coming to the ‘motherland’ from former colonies in the case ofthe UK, France and the Netherlands Many sociologists (especially in the United States) have viewed assimilation as an inevitable and necessary process for permanent migrants (Alba and Nee, 1997; Gordon, 1964; Portes etat, 1999). Assimilation leads logically to incorporation of immigrants and their descendants as new citizens.

However, not all immigrants have been seen as assimilable. Even the classical immigration countries have always differentiated on the basis of race (until recently), and of social and cultural background. Even the United States has had temporary migration schemes, like the Bracero Program for Mexican farmworkers. Moreover, not all immigration countries have tried to assimilate immigrants. Even prior to the industrial revolutions in Europe, practices of recruiting temporary migrant workers were common (Moch, 1992, 1995). In the late nineteenth century such schemes became institutionalized in France, Germany and Switzerland with a high degree of control by the state and employers’ organizations. In post-1945 Europe, ‘guestworker’ or temporary labor recruitment systems played a major role in labor mar- ket policies. ‘Guesrworkers’ were meant to come from relatively proximate countries of origin — especially the European periphery — and had no right to family reunion or permanent stay. More recently, similar — if even more rigid — approaches have been used in Gulf oil countries and Asian NICs. I refer to this mode of incorporation as differential exclusion because it means that migrants are integrated temporarily into certain societal sub-systems such as the labor market and limited welfare entitlements, but excluded from others such as political participation and national culture. Citizenship is not an option. Since some ofthe temporary workers generally do stay despite official policies, the result is incorporation in a marginal legal and social situation.

However, both assimilation and differential exclusion share an important common principle: that immigration should not bring about significant change in the receiving society. Such beliefs in the controllability of ethnic difference could be sustained in the past, but began to be questioned from the 1 970s in Western immigration countries. In the ‘guestworker’ countries, tern- porary migrants were turning into settlers. Democratic states found them- selves incapable of deporting large numbers of unwanted workers. Nor could immigrants be completely denied social rights, since this would lead to serious conflicts and divisions. The result was family reunion, community for- mation and emergence of new ethnic minorities. In classical immigration countries, the expectation oflong-term cultural assimilation proved illusoryc with ethnic communities maintaining their languages and cultures into the second and third generations. Immigrants began to establish cultural associations, places of worship and ethnic businesses — trends which soon also became important throughout Western Europe.

The result was the introduction of official policies of multiculturalism, initially in Canada (1971) and Australia (1973). In the United States, multi- culturalism has a somewhat different meaning, linked to interpretations of the role of minorities in culture and history (Gidin, 1995; Steinberg, 1995). Here pluralism was used to refer to acceptance ofcultural and religious diver- sity for immigrants — generally in the private sphere rather than as govern- ment policy Rather similar policies with varying labels (such as minorities policy in the Netherlands) soon followed in European immigration countries. In some cases they were introduced only in certain sectors, such as welfare or education, or at the municipal or provincial rather than the national level, In Asia, older forms of multi-racialism and communalism — often the result of colonial experiences — are important, but the idea of incorporating new ethnic groups as permanent residents or even citizens has not gained currency It is seen by national elites as a threat to processes of nation-building. I have argued elsewhere that current trends towards settlement of migrants may question such principles in the long run (Castles, 2000c), but, at present, multiculturalism should be seen primarily as a Western society phenomenon.

Multiculturalism implies abandoning the myth of homogenous and monocultural nation-states. ft means recognizing rights to cultural maintenance and community formation, and linking these to social equality and protection from discrimination. The term multiculturalism declined in pop- ularity in the 1990s, possibly due to its overtones ofstate-led social engineer- ing, but the notion of multicultural and multi-racial societies has become firmly entrenched in Western countries. There is widespread recognition that cultural and social changes brought about by migration are facts of life, which must be recognized in various areas. This can be seen as one of the major impacts of immigration: in just a few generations, old myths of national uniqueness and homogeneity have been undermined The cultural opening resulting from global diffusion of cultural and media products might have had similar effects, but migration has undoubtedly accelerated the process.

Yet, it is important to emphasize that multiculturalism can still be seen as a way of controlling difference within the nation-state framework, because it does not question the territorial principle. It implicitly assumes that migration will lead to permanent settlement, and to the birth of second and subsequent generations who are both citizens and nationals. Thus, multicultural- ism maintains the idea of a primary belonging to one society and a loyalty to just one nation-state.