(Draft – please do not cite.) How Scandinavian Mainstream Politicians Talk about Immigrants and National Identity Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen Department of Political Science and Government, Aarhus University, Denmark Presented at the annual meeting of Dansk Selskab for Statskundskab, Vejle Fjordhotel, 24-25 October 2013 ABSTRACT. Denmark, Sweden and Norway, so similar in terms of political system, welfare state, and culture, exhibit striking differences in their requirements for permanent residence and naturalization. Previous studies propose conceptions of national identity as a central explanation. However, they do not offer an adequate account of how the three countries actually differ in this regard. Using a remodeled version of the ethnic-civic framework, this paper seeks to rectify this shortcoming and take the first steps towards using national identity properly as an explanation of integration policies. Inspired by Oliver Zimmer, this new model separates cultural content and the logic of boundary construction, two parameters conflated in the ethnic-civic framework. Using parliamentary debates, government publications, and newspaper articles in selected years since the late 1990’s, it is found that Danish, Swedish and Norwegian political parties differ significantly on the level of logic of boundary construction, albeit they often invoke the same cultural content. Hence, research trying to trace the impact of national identity on immigrant integration policy What choice? 2 must focus on how the boundaries of national identity formation are constructed and not the type of cultural content invoked. Keywords: national identity; immigrant integration discourse; Scandinavia Migration to Western Europe has challenged and catalyzed political debate about the criteria for national membership and belonging. In response, many Western European countries have introduced or tightened mandatory integration programs and work, language and society knowledge requirements for permanent residence, citizenship and family reunification (Goodman 2010; Jacobs and Rea 2007). Still, countries adopt very different versions of these policies. They vary in terms of how demanding they are, the people they cover, and whether they are placed at entry, permanent residence or naturalization (Goodman 2012). In a Scandinavian1 context the variation is quite noticeable. Sweden has not introduced any of these policy instruments; in fact, Sweden has barely changed their (now) exceptionally permissive policies. Contrarily, Denmark has since the late 1990s implemented very restrictive versions although coming from a very liberal starting point (Mouritsen and Olsen 2013, 693–96). Finally, Norway has found a middle ground between the Danish and Swedish approaches (Brochmann and Hagelund 2010, 341–48, 2011; Goodman 2010, 761–63). Why do Denmark, Sweden and Norway, so similar in terms of political system, welfare state, and culture, exhibit such strong differences in integration requirements? Existing studies point towards two answers: coalitional politics (Brochmann and Hagelund 2010, 353–54; Green-Pedersen and Odmalm 2008) and dominant conceptions of national identity (Borevi 2010; Brochmann and Hagelund 2010, 34–35, 359–61; Brochmann and Seland 2010). Without discounting the significance of coalitional politics, this paper addresses the inadequacy of previous studies to clearly identify Scandinavian differences in how mainstream political parties conceive of national identity 2 3 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen in their argumentation. Failing to do so leaves us ill equipped to further study the impact of national identity on policy differences. Typically, Danish politics is said to be dominated by an ethnic conception of the nation, Swedish politics by a civic, with Norway somewhere in between (references). As an ideal-type, ethnic national identity intimately links ‘cultural factors’, such as history, language and social customs, with the idea that we cannot ourselves intentionally manage the sense of national identity we acquire (deterministic logic). A civic national identity combines ‘political factors’, such as political values and state institutions, with the idea that national identity is a question of choice (voluntaristic logic). Still, in all three countries the nation is, most of the time, identified with the same symbols or factors: egalitarianism, the welfare state and democracy. To find actual differences we must look at how these symbols are put to use in constructing the boundaries of national identity. That is, we must analytically break the intimate link between cultural content and logic of boundary construction in the ethnic-civic framework. In this paper, I break this link and focus on the logic of boundary construction. That is, the degree to which national identity formation is thought to be within the reach of human agency or determined by inalterable factors. This question can be answered both in terms of the degree to which individuals can control how they identify themselves, and the degree to which the national collective can democratically choose its identity. How politicians answer these two questions constitute their basic perspective on national identity formation. Using parliamentary debates, government publications, and newspaper articles in selected years since the late 1990s, this paper shows that Danish mainstream political parties tend to use deterministic logic on both the individual and collective dimension, Swedish mainstream parties tend to use voluntaristic logic on both dimensions, while Norwegian mainstream parties tend to combine deterministic logic on the individual dimension with voluntaristic logic on the collective dimension. What choice? 4 In the following, I start out by detailing the analytical framework. Hereafter, the operationalisation of the framework is discussed before moving on to the analysis of selected political debates on immigrant integration in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I conclude by discussing the implications for future research on the relationship between national identity and immigrant integration policies. Recomposing the ethnic-civic framework In the context of immigration and integration politics, most political parties would agree that a broadly shared national identity is crucial for the social cohesion of society. 2 However, political parties need not agree on the conception of national identity that should instruct policy. In order to differentiate between such conceptions, academic studies commonly seek recourse in the distinction between ethnic and civic national identity3. Inspired by the work of Oliver Zimmer (2003), I suggest recomposing the ethnic-civic framework to better capture how politicians actually talk about national identity and immigrants ( see also Jensen forthcoming). The ethnic-civic framework can be traced back to Friedrich Meineckes 1907-book Cosmopolitanism and the National State, and especially the work of Hans Kohn and Anthony D. Smith has contributed to its prevalence in academic work today. At the core of the framework are two interwoven factors: cultural content and logic of boundary construction. Cultural content are the symbolic resources political actors use when invoking national identity in their argumentation. Logic of boundary construction describes the way cultural content is processed or put to use in constructing the boundaries of national identity. The fundamental question regards the possibility of influencing national identity formation through the power of human will and action. 4 5 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen An ethnic national identity combines cultural content such as language, tradition, and social customs with deterministic logic of boundary construction. Using deterministic logic, national identity becomes the result of inalterable factors and, hence, placed outside the reach of intentional reconstruction. National identity, thus understood, has emergent properties and influence human actors irrespective of their being aware of it. Conversely, a civic national identity combines cultural content such as political values and institutions with voluntaristic logic of boundary construction.4 Contrary to deterministic logic, voluntaristic logic states that we are capable of intentionally managing the sense of national identity we acquire. Typically, studies conflate cultural content and logic of boundary construction in order to analyze along a single continuum between ethnic and civic. That is, ethnic cultural content is seen as intimately connected to deterministic logic of boundary construction, and civic cultural content to voluntaristic logic. Furthermore, the two models of national identity are said to be ideal types, meaning that specific empirical instances will always mix elements from both. However, this implies that there is no necessary empirical relationship between how cultural content and logic of boundary construction relates to each other. It seems plausible that most – if not all – cultural content can be processed through both deterministic and voluntaristic logic. Tradition, customs, history, political values or political institutions can all be treated as univocal factors determining current national self-identification, or as interpretively equivocal resources that can be selectively activated in the reproduction of national identity. Both perspectives are entirely compatible with the view that (a sense of) commonality is important for the cohesion of society. Consequently, we risk impairing the analysis of national identity frames in the public debate, if we only work along a single continuum between ethnic and civic. This, indeed, seems to be the case in a contemporary West European context, where the cultural content associated with civic national identity has come to dominate public conceptions of national identity (Joppke 2008; What choice? 6 Mouritsen 2012) – even within radical right parties (Betz and Johnson 2004; Halikiopoulou, Mock, and Vasilopoulou 2013). We cannot assume that such a symbolic convergence is paralleled by a convergence on the level of logic of boundary construction. Following Oliver Zimmer (2003), we need to treat cultural content and logic of boundary construction as separate analytical levels, and focus on the latter. However, in order to understand variation in the political framing of national identity, we need to refine the analysis of logic of boundary construction by distinguishing an individual dimension from a collective dimension. Answering whether an individual have the ability to choose his or hers national identity, is different from answering whether the national collective can choose to intentionally reconstruct how it identifies itself. The individual dimension concerns the degree of socialization needed to acquire the national identity of the country, while the collective dimension concerns the degree to which the selection and interpretation of cultural content is collectively negotiable. There is no necessary relationship between how political actors perceive the scope of agency on these two dimensions. Indeed, it is possible to believe that the national collective is incapable of significantly changing its identity, while the individual without much effort can choose to become part of said collective – or the other way around. These two frames, in which the logic differs on the two dimensions, are not only very different from each other, but also relate differently to frames using the same logic on the two dimensions. If we only analyze along the ethnic-civic continuum, we cannot distinguish frames combining the two logics differently. Together, the individual and collective dimensions constitute a space distinguishing national identity frames regarding the perceived degree of individual and collective agency (see figure below). As we move towards the voluntaristic end on both dimensions the scope of agency increases, and the national identity, thus conceptualized, becomes potentially more inclusive of immigrants and their descendants. 6 7 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen INDIVIDUAL Deterministic logic Voluntaristic logic COLLECTIVE Deterministic logic Voluntaristic logic Figure 1: Conceptual space consisting of the individual and collective dimensions of logic of boundary construction This framework is used in an analysis of selected years in the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish political debates on immigrant integration. I expect that national identity is given some priority, and that the different uses of national identity in the national debates can be contained within a loosely identifiable sub-space of the above conceptual space. The size of this sub-space will depend on the degree of disagreement within and between political parties, and the degree of ambivalence and vagueness within political parties. Operationalization and data What choice? 8 The following offers some basic thoughts on operationalization. That is, the characteristics statements have at the different ends of the two dimensions of logic of boundary construction. Statements may be either non-nationalistic or nationalistic. Nationalistic statements can operate on one or both dimensions, but they may also be too indeterminate to be placed within the framework. For example, stating that ‘broadly shared political values is important for the social cohesion of society’ does not say whether these values are seen as difficult to adopt or susceptible to change. That is, a nationalistic statement may refer to specific cultural content and remain silent on the logic of boundary construction. Conversely, a nationalistic statement may refer to a specific logic of boundary construction without referring to specific cultural content. For example, stating that ‘descendants of immigrants will find it easier to adapt to Danish society as they will probably have been brought up by Danish norms to a greater extent’ only refers to deterministic logic. That is, that adapting to society requires a sense of its foundational norms that can only be achieved by deep socialization. Starting with the collective dimension of logic of boundary construction, statements will implicitly or explicitly concern the degree to which the collective self-understanding is changeable through human will. Statements using deterministic logic will treat cultural content univocally and, hence, designate an end-point of individual change. This view may be caused by an understanding of national identity as something with an essential nature of its own or follow from a functionalistic understanding in which a specific national identity is vital for upholding valued social arrangements, such as a comprehensive welfare state. It follows that the national identity is not susceptible to political manipulation and, therefore, conditions political action. In its most simple form, such statements shortly state what ‘our values are’ as a matter of fact and without qualification. This is often accompanied by references to the particular historical path of the nation and/or their crucial role in the (continued) success of the state. Conversely, statements using 8 9 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen voluntaristic logic perceive cultural content as equivocal and, hence, do not designate a clear direction of individual change. The collective self-understanding is seen as a process of becoming in which political actors can intentionally affect the outcome. These kinds of nationalistic statements will be oriented towards reinterpreting cultural content in order to foster unity. For example, the open-ended nature of political values may be stressed or history may be called to be rewritten. On the individual dimension, statements will implicitly or explicitly concern the degree to which an individual’s context of upbringing and lived experiences determines self-identification. Using deterministic logic, statements will be focused on the difficult socialization of immigrants and descendants. More hope will be placed on descendants since these will grow up within the institutional and cultural confines of the nation-state. Participation in important arenas of socialization, such as work, school, politics and volunteering, will be stressed from the point of view of socialization instead of empowerment and democratic inclusion. Contrary, statements using voluntaristic logic regard national identity formation as a question of personal choice. Statements, then, will focus on encouraging immigrants to make this choice. It is assumed that people can work creatively with their identities and create hyphenated identities incorporating the national identity. By this reasoning it makes less sense to focus on descendants and cultural proximity between immigrants and the nation and more on including everybody in order to facilitate such identity formation. Mere participation in society is what becomes critical in terms of membership of the nation. The analysis will limit itself to focus on certain time periods when questions of immigrant integration were politically salient. For the selected time periods all relevant material in terms of government reports, party programs, law proposals, parliamentary debates and newspaper articles What choice? 10 has been analyzed. The task is approached qualitatively by coding central documents in each country according to deductively formed theoretical codes. In Sweden three periods are selected. Firstly, from March 1997, when the Conservative Party published the controversial manifesto Land for the Hopeful: A Manifest for a New Century, till December 1997 when the parliament debated the government white paper Sweden, the future and diversity – from immigrant policy to integration policy, which put forward the tenets to guide future law-making on immigrant integration. Secondly, from November 2002 till March 2003, when the parliament took on two debates on integration policy following the 2002-election, where the centre-right Liberal Peoples Party (Folkparti Liberalerna) chose to utilize immigration and integration as a profiling tool by proposing a controversial language requirement for citizenship. Finally, the analysis ends with the 2010-election, where the radical right-wing party, the Sweden Democrats (Sverigesdemokraterna), won 5.7 percent of the vote The analysis of Denmark starts with the period from November 1997 to April 1998, which saw four debates on immigrant integration and the passing of a new integration law. Furthermore, the period from March 2001 till October 2003 is analyzed. The 2001-election was dominated by immigration and integration issues and resulted in a new centre-right government. In the following years a host of restrictive measures was passed in parliament. The analysis ends with the political debate in 2010-11 about the government proposal for a point system for permanent residence and family reunification. The analysis of Norway also starts in 1997 with the debate around the publication of the white paper About immigration and the multicultural Norway. It moves on to the period from December 2002, when the new law on the introduction program for newly arrived immigrants was proposed, until the revision of the citizenship law in May 2005, which refrained from allowing double citizenship. This period saw six parliamentary debates on immigrant integration and the 10 11 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen publication of a first-of-its-kind white paper in 2004, Diversity through inclusion and participation, devoted to the issue of what the national ‘we’ must consist of in a multicultural society and how it can be cultivated. The analysis ends with the political debate that took shape from late 2012 with the publication of the white paper A comprehensive integration policy in October and, in December, the MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde of the Progress Party prompting an answer from the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Integration as to what Norwegian culture contains and entails. For two reasons I exclude far-left and far-right political parties from the analysis and on the argumentation of centre-left and centre-right parties5. Firstly, the far-rights understanding and use of national identity has been heavily researched which cannot be said of the more traditional political parties (references). Secondly, even though a strong far-right party, with its deterministic view of the nation, has been emphasised as a main driver of strict integration policies (Howard 2009), it is, I suspect, through pushing the ideational parameters of political competition among the more mainstream parties that this causal mechanism works. Consequently, it is relevant to investigate how the more traditional parties compete on the issue of national identity and immigrant integration. By this choice, I am not implying that the radical right is without merit in shaping policies. [PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING ANALYSIS DOES NOT COVER ALL THE TIME PERIODS LISTED ABOVE. THE FINAL VERSION WILL.] Sweden Two events shaped the political debate on immigrant integration in 1997. First, the Conservative Party (Moderaterna) published the controversial manifesto “Land for the Hopeful: A Manifest for a New Century” in March, which expressed sympathy for Swedes feeling frustrated and alienated in a What choice? 12 context of failing immigrant integration, generous welfare schemes and an economic downturn. Especially the Social Democrats accused it of mobilizing on prejudice and creating a fertile ground for racist elements in society. Secondly, in September the Social Democratic minority government proposed a new immigrant integration policy. Despite claiming it to be a paradigm shift it amounted to little more that a confirmation of the change in course that had already been made in the 1980s. That is, emphasizing the importance of national identity, and that immigrant groups should first and foremost be incorporated into a system of universal policies instead of being assigned special rights and programs. Both events were subjected to parliamentary debates. The importance of a shared national identity for the social cohesion of the Swedish society figures strongly in the debates alongside arguments on equal opportunities (through learning Swedish, having equal rights and combating anti-discrimination) and human well-being and empowerment (employment and equal treatment fosters self-respect and hope). But it is not always easy to separate such arguments from arguments about national identity. For example, the promotion of equal opportunities - especially through combating anti-discrimination – is also related to the hindrance of alienation from society as well as the future of the national identity. The Social Democrat Pierre Schori feared for the consequences for the future ‘we’, if intolerance wasn’t brought under control: It is only when we recognize that we all have within us a seed of intolerance which originate in anxiety, fear of the unknown, that we truly can achieve results … Therefore, it is how we here and outside this chamber handles this seed of intolerance we carry within us, that determines what kind of people we become. (Riksdagens Protocol 1996/97:106). Then Minister of Interior, Leif Blomberg (Social Democrat), made it clear: “Integration is ultimately intended to create a “we” of the ethnic and cultural diversity” (Riksdagens Protocol 12 13 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen 1997/98:38), but within the confines of societies’ basic values (typically democracy, gender equality and anti-discrimination). The government proposition for a new integration policy spelled out the dialogical character of this intentional reconstruction of the national identity: In order to develop society together a new national community must be created. Mutual respect and tolerance are the cornerstones of such a work, but also creativity and fearlessness and a desire from all to will and dare meet the different and the unknown. (Regeringens Proposition 1997/98:16, p. 24) All parties, except the Conservative Party, more or less agreed with this overall goal of intentionally reconstructing national identity. In the parliamentary debates, the Conservative Party repeated the message of their 1996 manifesto, that politicians should recognize the frustration of the Swedish people and protect Swedish culture. The Swedish profile, its particularity, is very important and a source of pride and belonging for native Swedes. Our common cultural heritage and history must not be relativized. It must provide the foundation as we build our future together in a new time (Riksdagens Protocol 1997/98:38). Furthermore, they stressed the importance of the Swedish language to create a deeper relation to the nation (reference). To this end, they proposed a language test for citizenship to function as a symbolic marker of this bond between the citizen and the nation-state. While downplaying the negotiable character of national identity, they simultaneously appreciated that cultural pluralism was inevitable, and that society at large must open itself up and accept cultural diversity in order to flourish in a globalized world. They also repeated the message of the government proposition, that the national identity should be based on cultural diversity (reference). What choice? 14 The Christian Democrats (Kristendemokraterna) also talked of a historically deep-rooted Swedish culture being a stabile foundation for a multicultural society, but in the same breath emphasized the dangerous aspects of the notion of country, people, language and country coinciding. Instead, the party recommends a “humble nationalism” by creating a “nuanced picture of what we call Swedish” that recognizes that Sweden is, and has been for a long time, a country of immigration (Kristendemokraterna 1996). Together with the Social Democrats they called for a rewriting of history in order to facilitate the development of a national identity that fully encompasses the cultural make-up of the Swedish society (Riksdagens 1997/98:38). All parties also praised the positive effects of cultural diversity, claiming it to invigorate society by making it dynamic and creative. For all parties (except the Conservative Party) national identity is not tightly bound to the history of Sweden. Instead it is very much premised on the multicultural society itself. In their proposal for an immigrant policy, the Center Party expresses it like this: “The multicultural society is not an end but a process which, while maintaining pluralism, develops common cultural traits.” (Centerpartiet 1996). The national identity is understood as dynamic, being in a (constant) process of development in order to include culturally diverse groups. This also manifests itself in two broadly held beliefs. First, that it is important that immigrants are included in politics and the public sector in order to supply a multicultural perspective on basic universal values, and how to realize them in policy and practice. Secondly, that it is indeed possible too actively (albeit slowly) shape the public opinion. The responsible politician is portrayed as taking on a special obligation to steer the public opinion towards appreciating the multicultural society as a precondition for developing a just national identity. On the collective dimension voluntaristic logic dominates Swedish national identity discourse, although deterministic logic occasionally finds its way into the argumentation of the Conservative Party and, to a lesser degree, the Christian Democrats. The national identity is 14 15 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen primarily something that must be brought into existence. Instead of looking towards (a static) history in defining the nation, the political parties look forward into an ever more globalized future, were a successful society presupposes a national identity encompassing cultural diversity. The present society must be mobilized to ensure that the national identity develops in this direction. Intercultural competence must be developed in the public school system, all state institutions and political decisions must be evaluated from a multicultural perspective and all public organizations (including political parties) must do their outmost to ensure better representation of immigrants. It has been argued, that behind this positive view of change is a deeper notion of the Swedish nation as the native land of modern values and the vanguard of social progress. A nation that embraces modernity, has distanced itself to nationalism, and established a tradition of self-reflection on the character of the national. A nation locating its greatness in being on the verge of (moral) modernity; supplying the world with inspiration (Emilsson 2009; Ruth 1984; Stråth 2000). On the individual dimension voluntaristic logic also dominates the discourse. In 1997 the Social Democratic government expressed it so: “On the individual level integration ought to be regarded as a life project the content and goals of which is up to the individual” (reference). As noted by Pierre Schori, then Deputy Foreign Minister: “If you are a Swedish citizen, then you are a Swedish citizen” (reference). The Conservative Party repeated this message by stressing that “if you participate in society then you are Swedish” (reference) and through analogy to the Swedish emigration to America in the early 20th century by calling immigrants “the settlers of Modern Sweden” (reference), albeit they also noted that “Sweden is no Minnesota where you can come and break new land like Karl-Oskar and Kristina” (reference). At the same time the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats emphasized the importance of immigrants and Swedes 6 retaining a strong cultural identity for the initiation of an open, tolerant and constructive dialogue on the development of an inclusive national identity (reference). Seemingly there is no need for immigrants to pertain in What choice? 16 extensive or even moderate socialization processes in order to take part in the national identity, although the existence of oppressive patriarchal norms in Muslim families is occasionally noted. The issue of combating discrimination among ethnic Swedes dominates overwhelmingly. All political parties point to structural discrimination as the single most significant hindrance to the inclusion of immigrants and their descendants into society, and the development of a more shared, inclusive national identity. As such it is the majority ethnic group and state institutions that are in particularly need of adjustment, not minority immigrant groups. Ethnic Swedes must learn to become more open and tolerant in the sense of accepting cultural diversity as something positive, and becoming sensitized to the different forms discrimination may take. State institutions must develop multicultural competence and supply a more culturally flexible service, making it both easier to for immigrants to identify with and use state institutions and services. Denmark A new integration law was passed in June 1998 as part of a package of law proposals that also included restrictions on immigration. The law involved extending the introduction programme from 1½ to 3 years and making permanent residence conditional on attendance. Disagreement between the government and the opposition mainly arose on whether completion of the three-year introduction programme should lead to permanent residence. The centre-right opposition was in concert on the issue and suggested that permanent residence should only be granted after seven years instead of three years of legal residence. Their main argument was that refugees are, by definition, only supposed to stay temporarily. A reoccurring argument was that refugees should not become immigrants, and that the state should be able to send them back when conditions are better in their home country. This argument was linked to the notion of Denmark not being or becoming an immigration country and the rejection of cultural equality in Danish society. Instead, Danish 16 17 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen culture (encompassing Christianity) should be protected and continue to be the basis for legislation and public values and norms. Birthe Rønn Hornbech of the Liberal Party was candid: Let me say that the Liberals are not in favour of a multicultural society where all cultures are treated equally in such a way that everyone should have equal weight with respect to Danish law and Danish values. We do not think so. Denmark has a long history with common values, a common faith and a common heart language, and this should of course still be emphasised in our set of norms and in our law (Folketinget 1998). This quote reveals a clear deterministic outlook on the relation between national identity and policy. It is presented as obvious that state policy must reflect the Danish national character instead of being an active ingredient in its reshaping. This naturalisation of Danishness was also evident when Anders Fogh Rasmussen7 of the Liberal Party proclaimed that Danish culture, life style and perception are better than Muslim culture (quoted in Jacobsen 1997). He further criticised the cultural relativism that he believed to see on the left wing8 for being afraid to listen to the demand of the Danish people to prioritise the more valuable Danish culture. He went on to state that Danish society only has an interest in Danish-speaking immigrants, rejecting any form of public support for mother-tongue education (Jacobsen 1997). Helge Adam Møller of the Conservative Party concurred: We want the Danish society to remain characterised by the history, culture, religion, language and traditions that generations of Danes before us have helped create, shape and pass on. We want people living in Denmark to recognise that they and their families are part of Danish society (Møller 1997). What choice? 18 The concept of ‘parallel societies’ gives further expression to this perspective. Such societies are little residential pockets of mainly non-Western immigrant residents (and their descendants) somehow cut off from Danish culture and language. They are portrayed as a threat towards social cohesion because they create cultural tension. This fear is vivid in the argumentation for restricting (arranged) marriages between a person brought up in Denmark (immigrant descendant) and a spouse raised in a non-Western (Muslim) country: Not only is it difficult for newly arrived spouses to integrate, but the resident spouse, who is perhaps born in Denmark and well-integrated, is forced by the newly arrived spouse to live in an unhappy cultural tension field (The Liberal Party & the Conservatives 2001). Cultural proximity is presented as a critical parameter for foreseeable successful integration, the assumption being that cultural distance is the same as physical distance: all things being equal, the longer the distance the longer the travel. Again, the logic is deterministic. The immigrant or descendant is on a journey towards comprehending a given national identity. This line of thinking also forms the argumentation of the Social Democratic Party. Particularly revealing is the quote below from then Minister of the Interior, Thorkild Simonsen, in which tolerance is interpreted as patience and understanding for the long road of integration that immigrants confront: We offer to help them adapt to society with its existing culture, norms and rules. Conversely, we expect that they work according to ability to become a thriving part of the Danish society. It is a lengthy process that requires tolerance (Simonsen 1998). Besides refraining from discrimination, the moral duties of the national community in relation to newcomers are limited to being patient and render the necessary assistance for them to understand – 18 19 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen if not internalise – the national way of life and act accordingly. Consequently, the Social Democratic lead government did not include the fair regard for the culture of immigrants into the purpose clause of the integration law (Holm 2007: 188–9). Conversely, patience is predicated on the immigrant taking personal responsibility, applying him- or herself and showing genuine will to integrate. At no point did the Social Democrats contest the deterministic view of the national collective coming from the political right. Instead, they seemingly took it for given that a particular Danishness exists and that one cannot function properly in Danish society if one is not familiar with it. This further reveals itself in reverence for ‘the feelings’ or ‘the understanding’ of ‘the people’ as the foundation of political legitimacy; that is, as something that policy must reflect and not as something that policy must confront in a reconstructive manner (unless it is blatant discrimination).9 Political parties are solicitors of public opinion, not judges. Animosity from Danes towards immigrants is presented as an effect of policies not reflecting what the people see as reasonable demands. The problem lies in the policy design, and the common attitude of the people is never suggested to be the problem. ‘The people’ as a symbolic resource becomes the bearer of national authenticity. Restrictive policy proposals were never opposed from the perspective of a different conception of national identity. Instead, the Social Democrats opposed them for lacking compassion. The Social Liberal Party did not express concern for Denmark becoming a multi-ethnic country, openly questioned demands going beyond what is needed for labour market inclusion and at one point noted that Danish identity had developed under the influence of many different cultures and would continue to do so (Folketinget 1998). This was not, however, connected to the state actively pursuing such a development. It was not viewed as a matter for the state to concern itself with facilitating a multicultural perspective on society or the creation of a new, more inclusive What choice? 20 national self-understanding. Instead, the Social Liberals were much more concerned with upholding human rights and the rule of law. The Socialistic People’s Party shared these concerns and further stressed tolerance, global solidarity and a need for a system that offered immigrants real opportunities for succeeding. Turning to the individual dimension of boundary construction, the trope of cultural proximity also rests on an assumption that national attachment and character are not a question of individual choice but of undergoing some form of learning process. In the parliamentary debate, this shows as a strong focus on the cultural cross-pressure that children of (non-Western) immigrants presumably face from their family and Danish society. From the political right, it was demanded that immigrant parents adapt to Danish cultural patterns (The Liberal Party & the Conservatives 2001), that ‘young people who have grown up and gone to Danish schools [has] become more Danish than their parents recognise’ (Bertel Haarder in Folketinget 2002) and that it should be easier for descendants of immigrants ‘to adapt to the Danish society since they have probably been brought up by Danish norms to a greater extent’ (The Liberal Party & the Conservatives 1997). The Conservatives and the Liberal Party point to a certain cultural stubbornness exhibited by (Muslim) immigrants as a lack of will to integrate. The problem is that ‘our foreigners do not have the openness that Danes have; on the contrary, they are closed and intolerant’ (Birthe Rønn Hornbech in Folketinget 2001). Or as one MP from the Conservatives expresses it: We can take being mixed with others, but one of our problems is that a great number of people arrive in Denmark who do not want to mix with us. They want to live in our country and live their own lives with their own culture, their own family patterns, their own view of humanity, which are completely different from ours (Else Theill Sørensen in Folketinget 2002). 20 21 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen Cultural segregation is one of the central worries of the Liberal Party, the Conservatives and the Social Democrats. It is seen as detrimental to social cohesion because children of immigrants will grow up in homes where Danish is not spoken and where family norms exist that oppose the independence of women, especially to seek work and education. In order to create fully integrated children, immigrant families should leave behind the norms that curtail gender equality and the development of autonomous individuals and adopt a Danish way of child rearing (Mouritsen and Olsen 2011, 8–9) and, not least, Danish as the household language. If not, their children will grow up divided between two cultures and will be denied a happy childhood and opportunities in their adult life according to these parties. It is therefore of utmost importance that descendants of immigrants do not find their spouse in non-Western countries, as it will reset the entire integration process. As Social Democrat Sophie Hæstorp Andersen puts it: Young people feel Danish but have a different ethnic background, and when they choose to marry with someone from their home country, a new first-generation immigrant arrives in Denmark, and then the integration must start all over. It makes it harder for the children to be well integrated (Folketinget 2003). Mixing with Danes and participating in public institutions (such as schools) is emphasised. Preferably, immigrants submerge themselves in activities involving them in Danish daily life, hereby showing a will to adapt and learn. From the perspective of the political right, and more implicitly also the Social Democrats, the linkage between the individual and the nation is to large extent deterministic. The national way of life is not something one simply chooses to adapt; rather, it has to be ingrained through family norms and extensive participation in the major social institutions of the welfare state. Whether the Social Liberal Party or the Socialistic People’s Party agreed with this line of thinking is rather unclear. However, they opposed the restrictive law changes, such as the What choice? 22 controversial 24-year rule10, but they did so mainly from the perspective of human rights instead of challenging the conception of the nation laid forward. Norway The parliamentary debates on immigrant integration in Norway, from the passing of the introduction programme law in June 2003 until the enactment of the citizenship law reform in May 2005, are characterised by both ideational affinity and ambivalence regarding the national selfunderstanding. In fact, national identity never became a contested issue in this period, despite the government’s white paper from 2004 devoted to the question of national identity. The basic issues of making permanent residence and citizenship conditional on completion of an introduction programme never divided the political parties, and only the Socialistic Left Party wanted to allow double citizenship. The white paper is relatively straightforward in its discussion of national identity. It clearly states the aim of guiding the development ‘of a new and more including understanding of what it means to be Norwegian’ (Norway 2004: 18). Therefore, it plays a key role when trying to close in on the parameters of national identity construction in the political debate. In the parliamentary debate on the white paper (Stortinget 2005), the opposition could only muster a critique of the lack of concrete proposals on how to cultivate this more inclusive national identity. As Signe Øye of the Social Democrats noted: ‘The problem is not what the white paper says, but what it does not say’ (Stortinget 2005: 2475). It is therefore quite surprising, if not telling, that the parliamentary debate witnessed all parties mentioning the non-negotiability of the Norwegian societies’ basic values while nobody reflected on a central point in the white paper: the intentional, dialogical reconstruction of the national identity along the lines of certain core political values: 22 23 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen What belongs to societies’ shared basic values and what can be accepted and respected as part of the diversity in terms of lifestyle and moral standpoint must be discussed in relation to specific issues and over time. Everyone must respect the rules of society in force. At the same time, everybody has the freedom to seek influence on the content of the basic societal values through political and civil processes. This content is not static (Norway 2004: 34). This demonstrates a clear ambivalence regarding how ‘basic values’ are processed on the collective dimension of boundary construction. In the parliamentary debates, the basic values take on a selfevident non-negotiable character, and considerable emphasis is put on the ‘will of the immigrant’ to adjust to Norwegian language and society. Conversely, the white paper mainly processes political values in a voluntaristic manner, emphasizing broad dialogue on their interpretation.11 Regarding the more practical aspect of public institutions, a clearer alignment is present between the white paper and the parliamentary debates. All parties argue that public institutions must change and become more flexible in order to accommodate a more culturally diverse population and ease the identification of minorities with the national community. As the white paper states: ‘Offering equal services that show consideration for citizens having new and other needs than the majority is recognizing the new diversity in practice. It shows that society is open to change’ (Norway 2004: 12). Public opinion is equally processed through voluntaristic logic, picturing politicians as having a responsibility to promote a new sense of ‘we’ in contrast to the idea of national identity as something sacralised conditioning politics. The invigorating qualities of cultural diversity are often noted and described as something that should be actively incorporated into the national identity. However, this focus on nation-building shares the stage in the parliamentary debates with an understanding of integration as a two-way process that expects very little of the majority What choice? 24 population. Instead, the two actors in this process are the immigrants and the state. The state offers opportunities and support, and the immigrant contributes by engaging. Here, the two-way process leaves us with some form of institutional accommodation, and no effort, beyond antidiscrimination, is being directed at or expected of citizens. On the whole, the political debate on immigrant integration paints an image of the nation as mainly voluntaristic on the collective dimension of boundary construction. However, the ambivalence is obvious, and the voluntaristic logic is more pronounced in the white paper than in the parliamentary debates. Regarding the individual dimension of boundary construction, the white paper also lingers on the ‘mental and emotional depth of the integration process’ (Norway 2004: 33). However, we are again left with somewhat ambivalent reflections that did not raise any debate among the political parties, which seemingly accepted their legitimacy and validity. While the white paper states that no one can be demanded to have a close emotional relationship to Norway, it also states the following: All people ‘integrate’ in relation to society and the people around them. We connect with each other through extensive socialisation processes in the family, circle of friends, school and work. Through these processes, we learn to be people in specific communities (Norway 2004: 33). One may try to salvage consistency by claiming a distinction between mental and emotional belonging; that is, a certain way of thinking (mental) versus the emotional arousal that national imagery ignites. Either way, we are left with the impression that acquiring or cultivating Norwegian national identity is a question of lengthy processes aimed at deeply rooted psychological dispositions. This more deterministic view of the national identity further reveals itself in three ways. First, the white paper differentiates between immigrants and their descendants when setting goals for belonging. Adult immigrants are not expected to develop a strong identification with 24 25 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen Norway because they ‘have been shaped in other societies than the Norwegian’ (Norway 2004: 35). Conversely, the ambition is much higher for descendants of immigrants because ‘Norway is their most important frame of reference and the society that has shaped them’ (Norway 2004: 37). In this way, the success of descendants becomes the ‘true touchstone’ of integration (Norway 2004: 11). Second, all parties direct attention towards the importance of descendants being extensively connected to society through friends, work, school, political participation and/or volunteering, which largely translates into being raised within the confines of public institutions (especially kindergarten and schools) and egalitarian and tolerant homes with independent mothers. The worry seems to be that the descendants risk not being able to function in Norwegian society if their families do not allow them to be shaped by the welfare state institutions. Hence, children must participate in all school activities such as excursions, parties and swimming classes (Norway 2004: 57; Local Government Committee 2005a: 2, 4), and mothers, in order to raise their children properly, must learn the language, become economically independent and free themselves from a patriarchal culture. Particularly, employment and economic independence are emphasised as drivers of inclusion in terms of social levelling, social recognition, self-respect and mutual understanding. It is even linked to democratic participation of women in a statement shared by all political parties: The development of the welfare state has laid a good basis for women’s entry into the workplace and made women more economically independent. Participation in a democratic society presupposes freedom, equality and independence (Local Government Committee 2005b: 13). Finally, the cultural environment that descendants are raised in is also discursively linked to freedom and social equality through the development of social competence. A need for extensive socialisation shows itself in the simultaneous emphasis on autonomous identity formation, social competence and social equality. In order to realise social equality, every immigrant descendant What choice? 26 must be able to develop their identity as they choose to. This entails the development of social competence in the sense of being able to fluently shift between different social and cultural contexts, which is cultivated by socializing and having friends across cultural boundaries (Norway 2004: 30, 37, 63–4, 67). Hence, social equality is not just about equal opportunities through universal welfare schemes and a tolerant and non-discriminatory environment but also about having a deep understanding of each others’ differences that can be utilised in one’s own identity project(s). The white paper talks of ‘harmonic co-existence’ as predicated on a social and cultural interaction that connotes fear of cultural segregation and becoming too internally different (Norway 2004: 38, 55). The distinction between immigrants and their descendants is central to understanding how national identity figures in the debate on immigrant integration. Only the descendants of immigrants are expected to be able to develop a close belonging to the national community, and therefore only they are described as direct participants in the intentional dialogical process of constructing a more inclusive national identity. First-generation immigrants are not perceived as being able to form the same kind of national belonging. Instead, they are expected to create the best conditions for their children to develop a deep national belonging. In other words, cultural content is mainly processed through constructivist logic on the collective dimension, and mainly through deterministic logic on the individual dimension. Forming national belonging and becoming part of the national dialogue on national identity presupposes being raised within the confines of the Norwegian welfare state and egalitarian and tolerant homes. 26 27 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen Conclusion Political actors are notoriously hard pressed when asked for a clear definition of the national identity they invoke in political debate. The fact that politicians increasingly have to turn to the symbols of civic nationalism to find broadly legitimate ways of expressing particularity may even make it harder to come with a clear answer. Joppke (2008) goes so far as interpreting this as a retreat of nationalism. However, if we leave cultural content to one side and instead focus the discourse analysis on the underlying logics of boundary construction, we are indeed able to detect significant national differences despite symbolic convergence – at least in the case of Scandinavian politics. Most (if not all) Scandinavian centre-left and centre-right parties seem to accept the idea that a broadly shared national identity is necessary for social cohesion. However, the national identity frames present in the immigrant integration debate varies significantly. The findings of the analysis are summarized in the figure below. FIGURE 2 The conceptual sub-spaces in the debates analyzed Organic (ind.) DK SW Voluntaristic (ind.) Voluntaristic (coll.) Organic (coll.) NO What choice? 28 On the collective dimension Denmark stand out from Sweden and Norway. Danish political discourse invokes culture, history, universal political values and ‘the people’ as central symbols, and they are all processed through deterministic logic. It is predominantly the political right that pushes a national identity frame. The political left, however, never tries to contest the national identity frame put forth by the right; they never offer an alternative view of the nation. In Norway, on the other hand, we find a strong political consensus across centre-left and centre-right parties on a rather ambivalent processing of political values. The voluntaristic logic dominates, but arguments drawing on deterministic logic are clearly present. In Sweden, history, political values and globalization are the central symbols. The latter was processed in a voluntaristic manner by all parties in the sense of success in a globalized world presupposing a culturally flexible national identity. History was processed through a deterministic lens by the Conservative Party, while the rest viewed both political values and history through a constructivist lens as something that must be discussed and perhaps reformulated from a multiculturalist perspective. On the individual dimension of boundary construction there is a difference between Denmark and Norway on one side and Sweden on the other. In both Denmark and Norway deterministic logic prevails. Discourse in both countries focus on national belonging as intricately connected to the context in which one is raised. However, Danish discourse is preoccupied with cultural proximity and cultural cross-pressure as obstacles to integration, while Norwegian discourse focus on creating citizens able to fluently shift between cultural contexts and hereby create common ground. In Swedish discourse national belonging can be brought about by social and political participation alone. The individual has a real choice as long as society does not discriminate. 28 29 Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen The next step – at least in a Scandinavian context – is to move from ideational differences to policy differences. How, if at all, do these logics of boundary construction combine to shape integration policy? Do they shape how political parties compete on issues of integration? Do they compete with or work in conjunction with other non-nationalistic ideas? Do they sustain, stress or are they circumvented by existing institutional arrangements? To be able to answer these questions, we need to trace the path of national identity ideas in specific decision-making processes. What choice? 30 Notes 1 In this paper Scandinavia refers to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Sometimes Iceland, Faroe Islands and Finland are included. However, such use of the term is considered inaccurate in the area itself. Instead, the term Nordic countries refer to this broader group. 2 Adrian Favell has argued that beneath the idea of immigrant integration itself “lies the deeper, social theoretical notion of nationalist “social integration”— premised on a culturally shared, territorially bounded, and historically rooted notion of society—that has found its dominant actualized expression in the modern world as the contemporary idea of the nation-state.” (2006, 50–51). 3 Studies on national identity focusing on contemporary 4 Oliver Zimmer contrasts deterministic logic to constructivist logic. That is problematic; however, as constructivist logic does not involve an assumption about the human ability to control identity formation. Just because meaning structures are constructed do not mean they change easily or are any less determining of self-identification (Berger & Luckmann 1966: 79). 5 In Denmark, these are the Socialistic People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the Social Liberal Party, the Liberal Party and the Conservatives. In Norway, they are the Socialistic Left Party, the Centre Party, the Labour Party, the Christian People’s Party and the Conservatives. 6 7 It was mainly the Christian Democrats that stressed the latter. Anders Fogh Rasmussen went on to become party leader in 1998 and prime minister from 2001 to 2008. 8 Although it is often used rhetorically to accuse the left wing, cultural relativism or multiculturalism as an ideology has in fact never been an influential idea on the left wing. 9 According to Anthony D. 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