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Organising Immigrants' Integration

Practices and Consequences in Labour Markets and Societies
Palgrave Macmillan (Verlag)
Erschienen am 9. Juni 2023
XVII, 303 Seiten
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978-3-031-26821-2 (ISBN)
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This collection of field studies offers novel insights into the issues of migration and integration of immigrants. The focus of the chapters is on actions, processes, and complexity of organising practices, in contrast to more policy-oriented works. The contributors address vital questions: How is the labour market integration of refugees and other immigrants being organised in practice? What ideas of integration give rise to, and are promoted by contemporary integration initiatives? And what are the effects of these integration initiatives - on immigrants' lives, and on their labour market integration in terms of diversity, gender, and power relations?
With contributions highlighting the importance of coordination and collaboration for the successful organising of integration, this book should be of interest to researchers and advanced students from the fields of management and organisation studies, public administration and management, migration and integration studies, sociology, cultural studies and science and technology studies. It should also interest professionals and policymakers working with integration who face the challenges described here in their daily work.
1st ed. 2023
Springer International Publishing
3 s/w Abbildungen
XVII, 303 p. 3 illus.
5,60 MB
978-3-031-26821-2 (9783031268212)
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Warengruppensystematik 2.0
Andreas Diedrich is Associate Professor at the Dept. of Business Administration, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Barbara Czarniawska is a Professor Emerita at GRI, School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Section I: Organising integration - where and when it starts, and how does it end

Chapter 1: Introduction: Organising integration

Andreas Diedrich and Barbara Czarniawska

(A developed version of "Aims and Rationale")

Chapter 2: Alternative perspectives on immigrant accommodation to society: Implications for organising, the labor market, and workplace integration.

Vedran Omanovic & Ann Langley

Different terms are used when exploring and conceptualizing migrants' accommodation to a host society, including assimilation, integration, and inclusion. The present review of the literature shows that the most debated and used terms related to the accommodation of immigrants to a host society are assimilation and integration, while the term inclusion has appeared only recently. Thus, these three terms will be the key focus of our analysis, especially as the meanings of these concepts vary, change over time, and are influenced by different interests and perspectives, but their implications for the way in which immigrants might be integrated into the workforce are important. The first part of the chapter analyzes the varying constructions of these three concepts. Next, the chapter presents a fictional vignette that helps to explore how these three concepts might influence actual practices. The conclusions are drawn with help of recent organizational literature dealing with the management of diversity and socialization; they emphasize some of the dilemmas that render immigrant accommodation into society an ongoing, and challenging social concern.

Chapter 3: Organising (refugee) integration in Sweden: How it begins.

Yashar Mahmud

Refugee integration is often discussed on a national or an international level. The everyday lives of refugees however are shaped by concrete spaces and times where and when their integration occurs. Yet the understanding of the beginning(s) of refugee integration seems to attract little attention of researchers. The specific focus on certain factors or events - such as participation in a language course, an education program or labor skills training, finding a job, or owning a house - might create blind spots in the understanding on how refugees "get there", as it is called. Thus, the main aim of this chapter is to explore the initial stages in refugee integration, attempting to answer the questions where, when, and how refugee integration begins. Following the everyday practices that organise refugees is thus a way to understand how a refugee is enacted in one way at one site (at one time), while differently at another site (or another time). Describing the events that took place at the Stockholm Central Station at the height of the so-called refugee crisis (autumn of 2015) with help of Annemarie Mol's (2002) concept of modes of ordering permits showing not only how refugees were organized, but also how stability in organising is achieved, as the process of enactment is almost always riddled with tensions.

Chapter 4: Narratives of integration among migrants to Sweden: Digital influences in the conceptualisation of integration of the transnational migrant

Amit Mitra & Quang Evansluong

There has been a steady growth in migration in the last decade to various European countries. Sweden is no exception to this. Like other countries, Sweden has tried to systematise processes through which migrants could become part of the host nation. At the same time, research points to the challenges that 'integration' plays in such a process. A variety of definitions of the term, 'integration' seems to have created multiplicity of perspectives of what constitutes integration. Invariably the states' conceptualisation of what would constitute a migrant to have integrated often seems far different to that of the perception of the migrant. A lot of the interactions that migrants indulge in, happen through online interfaces that embed the nature of struggle they endure on their path to becoming integrated into Sweden. Paradoxically, just like partition of countries imposes various kinds of adverse expectations that would for instance, need them to shun their original identities to fit in with the identities of the geography that they are now part of, 'integration' tends to have very similar consequences. Migrants are constantly having to integrate with limited access to information, limited mobility, high failure rates in applications, shifting requirements and expectations, limited access to work, as well as social and cultural isolation. The chapter is going to examine the consequences of integration as reified which seems to the states' position, in contrast to integration as a narrative, in pursuit of dwelling on the intersection of the different conceptualisations of integration.

Chapter 5: Prefigurative politics in women worker cooperatives as a new integration practice

Maria Norbäck & Maria Zapata Campos

The so-called refugee crisis in Sweden has revealed the centrality of civil society initiatives for building more inclusive societies, either in terms of housing, health, education, or employment. Simultaneously to the challenge of social and economic inclusion of foreign-born citizens, in the last decade Sweden has also been experiencing a precarization of work, which resulted in the development of new and different forms of underemployment through freelancing, zero-hours contracts, temporary work. Such novel practices may also create new ways of organizing the social and economic inclusion of migrants that, in time, can deliver major societal changes. Such new practices may be seen as what the earlier literature has called prefigurative politics. "Prefiguration" refers to the attempted construction of alternative or utopian social relations in the present, as actualized by the actions of social movements. Based on a study of alternative practices developed in labor cooperatives run by foreign-born citizens, this chapter describes how such practices redefine traditional methods used in organizing the labor market integration of foreign citizens, and their positive results - such as emancipation, personal development, knowledge and learning, and democracy.

Chapter 6: "Tough love" - the role of municipal housing corporations in deprived neighborhoods

Sara Brorström

Municipal housing corporations play an important role in providing housing for citizens, and to helping their tenants. They also contribute to establishing order in specific neighborhoods - if necessary, by force. Finally, they have the authority to decide over people's right to have a place to live, and though they are to operate on business-like principles, their aim is also to create public value. So, what is the role of municipal housing corporations in the labour market integration of immigrants living in marginalized neighborhoods? This chapter is based on interviews with employees at both private and public housing corporations that operate in deprived areas in the city of Gothenburg, heavily populated by immigrants. The reason why Gothenburg makes an interesting case is that in 2020, the politicians in the city council in their annual budget instructed the housing group Framtiden AB to work towards social inclusion in the six neighborhoods, which are currently on the police list as "especially deprived areas".

Chapter 7: Organising integration and the labors of hope

Andreas Diedrich and Annette Risberg

In Sweden, as in many other countries, it takes much longer for highly skilled immigrants to get jobs at their competence level, as compared to native born persons with similar competence levels. This, although there are many activities aimed at facilitating immigrants' entrance into the labor market. Municipalities and state agencies coordinate and partially finance integration initiatives and activities by private and public actors aiming to speed up the integration. These include validation of prior learning, Fast Tracks, vocational training, and workplace-based learning. A study of mentorship programs and internships reported here reveals that these activities may (un)intentionally prolong immigrants' unemployment. They do not provide immigrants with employment, but with hope for a job in the future. One reason for this might be that some companies providing mentors or internship positions often do not intend to hire the mentees or interns: instead, they wish to make a benevolent gesture (Romani et al., 2019). There are other reasons too worth exploring. Our analysis locates internship and mentoring activities in the context of settlement support for recent immigrants, illuminating the complexities and challenges that arise when state-sponsored ideals of labor market and societal integration are translated into practices by public and private employers.

Chapter 8: Speaking Swedish: A necessity or a possible ground for discrimination?

Hanna Hellgren

In response to the increasing influx of refugees to Sweden in 2014-2015 many efforts to support their integration into the labor market and society in Sweden like in the other countries. Many initiatives aimed at supporting low-skilled refugees, often with short or no education. They included a combination of internships, mentorships, and Swedish language training, and aimed at facilitating the refugees' employment during the settlement period. Knowledge among refugees of the host country's language is usually seen as one of the critical conditions of successful integration into the labor market, but the exact level of such knowledge, and required degree of language skills tend to differ, and the requirements are often unclear. This chapter illustrates how language skills became understood as one of the main challenges when matching refugees participating in integration support initiatives with possible internship and employment positions, and how this led to the reorganizing of the initiatives, eventually leading to the implemention of language tests in the matching stages. The concluding discussion focuses on the role of language skills as a classification device in organizing integration support.

Section II: Comparing Integration Efforts

While many topics, problems and solutions related to organising integration are recognizable in most countries, there are interesting differences - in space and time.

Chapter 9: Social procurement for labor market integration

Emma Ek Österberg and Patrik Zapata

Public procurement is increasingly emphasized as a key tool in labor market integration. The interviewees in the study reported in this chapter talked about "a huge potential" - a recurring description of the high-flying expectations that justify the extensive development work going on in many municipalities across Europe. It is easy to see why: The idea of procurement as a labor market integrating tool is attractive and easy to understand. Procurement takes various shapes in practice, but they all bring employment via procurement of whatever is being purchased - construction work, cleaning services, food, IT systems and support, office supplies, eldercare services, and even management consulting. No wonder that in recent years procurement has emerged as a popular method of facilitating labor market integration. It means that while companies supply goods and services to the public, their contract requires that they employ one or several individuals from a particular target group. The hope is that in this way private firms that would not otherwise take part in organising integration would join it. In these efforts, Sweden is following successful experiments conducted in other European countries.

Chapter 10: But you are not an immigrant - On Nordic integration from a cultural perspective

Barbara Czarniawska and Orvar Löfgren

In the discussions about immigration to Sweden, intra-Nordic migration is noticeably absent. Yet the migration between Sweden, and Norway, Denmark and Finland has a long history and has unfolded on a large scale, so that a closer look at it may shed light on different aspects of integration than those concerning other immigrant flows. This chapter contains present some analytical insights such intra-Nordic experiences offer.

Chapter 11: Organisational inclusion and identity regulation in Austria

Almina Besic & Renate Ortlieb

Do inclusive organizations live up to the term "inclusion"? Diversity literature depicts the inclusive organisation as an ideal entity that welcomes social minorities who, in turn, feel valued and unique and have a sense of belonging to the organisation. This study offers a critical account of inclusion concepts and practice. The authors argue that proponents of inclusion overlook that inclusive organisations also may regulate workers' identities. To examine the relationship between organisational inclusion and identity regulation, they conceptualise inclusion as a process involving various organizational actors and practices. Drawing on a multiple-case study of refugees working in Austria, the authors show how organisational practices aimed at inclusion contribute to the forming of refugees as "good", "glorious", and "grateful" subjects. This identity regulation is ambivalent: while it allows refugees to work in inclusive organizations, it also constrains their sense of self.

Chapter 12: The integration of immigrants into the fragile Italian labour market

Donatella Greco, Alberto Zanutto and Barbara Poggio

The chapter focuses on the main issues that have characterized the access to the Italian labor market by foreign citizens from a double (at least) point of view, to appreciate both the sociological novelty in the work organizations and the historical waves that the phenomena assumed along the three last decades. The first section presents a short chronological review of the main migration flows to Italy and the effect of the phenomenon on the local labor market organisations. The section provides a brief diachronic overview with a focus on the "gender evolution" of Italian migration flows; the analysis also includes an exploration of the different ethnic backgrounds to underline how the migratory paths of people from different countries evolved along the decades. The second section considers the main areas of access to employment by migrants in the Italian context. The analysis focuses on the main organizational practices that characterize these processes, differentiating between sectors, origins and migratory projects. An ecological and phenomenological perspective is used to explain how, in the Italian context, the enrollment of foreign workers is also influenced by the local productive contexts which are expressions of the Italian entrepreneurial practices. A concluding reflection is dedicated to the impact of migrant generations on the labor market and the gender implications of these processes.

Chapter 13: Integrating older migrants: Organisational care and support processes and practices in Australia

Marika Franklin, Fei Guo and Lucy Taksa

The migration and integration literature has focused on the complex processes involved from economic, cultural, geographic/residential, linguistic, and political perspectives. In this scholarship, migrants are seen as agents of change and their adaptation and integration behavior reflects their own characteristics and the environments in which they are situated. Migrants' economic contribution to the labor force, their cultural-linguistic contribution to social diversity, and their residential patterns, including concentration in specific locales and often segregation from host communities have been extensively studied in many settings. What is less understood is the process of migrants' integration from a life course perspective. Integration processes become particularly important in the later stage of migrants' lives when they need to interact with and navigate through organisational care and support systems in the host society. This interdisciplinary study provides a timely analysis of organising integration of older migrants in the Australian context based on recent fieldwork with a range of migrant support providers and coordinating organisations that engage with older migrants. The chapter focuses on the processes and practices of community organizations which shape migrants' integration in the society, such as types and models of service provision, co-ordination of social engagement activities, and support for navigating health and other systems. It contributes new knowledge to one often neglected area in the migration integration literature, by enhancing appreciation of the continuing nature of integration throughout the lives of migrants.

Chapter 14: The integration problem - A view from the rocking chair

Sten Jönsson

Immigration is usually the result of some cultural disaster in the country of origin. Nobody abandons their country unless living conditions are reduced (or if one holds unrealistic hopes, or dreams about a new life, good work and prosperity in the new country, in which case one is classified as an "economic" refugee, travelling on "hope", and usually with a heavy burden of debt). Outcomes are precarious. The individual can easily take a wrong turn at any moment and embark on a "path of no return". Steven Dudley (2020) gave an account of how America's most notorious gang came into being: It started in 1972 when the 14 richest families in El Salvador blocked a modest agrarian reform, which was followed by protests from a motley alliance of students, unions, dispossessed farmers, Liberation Theology, and communist guerrilla groups. When repression did not work, a military coup was initiated. Civil war followed, with support to either side by USA and Cuba. With it came a huge flow of refugees that, to a large part, ended up in California, and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pico-union. In that area schoolyards became the turf of battling gangs that moved between the streets and the schoolyards, divided along racial lines. Whites and blacks dominated, and the Salvadoreans formed their own gang, but as they were not doing very well in the battles, they merged, in 1983, with the Mexican Mafia, making it the only street gang that had been declared a "transnational criminal organization". By 1988 California passed legislation to back up harsh measures against street terrorism. Many Salvadoreans ended up in jail and, since they had no papers (97 % of all asylum applications were refused with reference to the military coup being anti-communist), which set the stage for deportations back to El Salvador since 1996, when a peace agreement ended the civil war. Now the gangs are everywhere and extract payments from all kinds of human activity.

Chapter 15: Different and similar: A time for hybridization has come?

Barbara Czarniawska and Andreas Diedrich

This chapter will draw together the main conclusions from the chapters featured in this edited volume.

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