Decolonizing civic Integration: a critical analysis of texts used in Dutch civic integration programmes

Nadine Blankvoort, Margo van Hartingsveldt, Debbie Laliberte Rudman, Anja Krumeich

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European civic integration programs claim to provide newcomers with necessary tools for successful participation. Simultaneously, these programs have been criticized for being restrictive, market-driven, and for working towards an implicit goal of limiting migration. Authors have questioned how these programs discursively construct an offensive image of the Other and how colonial histories are reproduced in the constructions seen today. The Dutch civic integration program is considered a leading example of a restrictive program within Europe. Research has critically questioned the discourses within its policies, yet limited research has moved beyond policy to focus on discourse in texts in practice. This study presents a critical discourse analysis of texts used in practice within the civic integration program and demonstrates that they participate in multiple discursive constructions: the construction of the Dutch nation state and its citizens as inherently modern, the construction of the Other as Unmodern and thus a threat, and the construction of the hierarchical relationship between the two. The civic integration program has been left out of discussions on decolonization to date, contributing to it remaining a core practice of othering. This study applies post-colonial theories to understand the impacts of current discourse, and forwards possibilities for consideration of decolonized alternatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3511-3530
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event18th IMISCOE Annual Conference -
Duration: 7 Jul 20219 Jul 2021


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