What Can Art Teach us about Integration? – The role of art in postmigrant integration: cases from Germany, Sweden, and Luxembourg.
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Society. 2020 (English)
Link to thesis: http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:1478328
The term integration became a buzzword and is omnipresent in the current European discourses. Despite its broad definitions, there is a tendency in migration studies and the political narrative to focus exclusively on migrants and their descendants while upholding the vision of a fixed “host society”, with an established national culture, in which migrants should integrate. The present study aims to reframe the concept of integration by adopting a postmigrant approach and by analyzing the contribution of art projects in this regard. To do so, the study draws on two current theoretical approaches to integration in the social sciences, Stuart Hall’s conceptualization of national culture, the postmigration concept and the societal impact of art as theoretical framework. First, the notion of integration has been positioned theoretically in current postmigrant debates. The content analysis demonstrates that the conceptualization of postmigrant integration takes distance from the notion of assimilation and looks beyond the topic of migration. Second, eight semi-structured interviews have been conducted with project team members and project participants of the art projects “Newcomers”, “Leben, Erzählen, Schreiben”, “Hela Bilden”, and the organization “Alter & Ego”. The thematic analysis of the interviews showed the necessity to address the “host population”, i.e. individuals without experience of forced migration, to overcome monolingualism and to concentrate on societal diversity which contributes to the theorization of postmigrant integration. The present thesis indicates the importance of the arts regarding their societal impact and agency to provide alternative narratives on migration and integration. It also stresses the necessity of integration policies and the European migration regime to take part in the reframing of current migration discourses by directly addressing the “host population” and acknowledging today’s context of plural societies in which everyone should integrate.
postmigration, societal impact of the arts, art projects, reframing integration, postmigrant migration research, postmigrant integration