Assimilation vs. Integration: Dimensions and Dynamics of Contemporary Integration Policies of the UK

By Samiul Parvez Ahmed.

Published by The International Journal of Community Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: September 2, 2015 $US5.00

UK integration policies were fundamentally transformed when the former Labour Government in early 1990s replaced the philosophy of “multiculturalism” with the policy of “community cohesion.” The retreat from multiculturalism was based on the perception that the policy creates “separateness” between communities by focusing on the different ways of life of the various ethnic communities. As the integration policy shifted toward a “Community Cohesion Agenda” (CCA), it became focused on regeneration of community values through building strong cross-community ties. However, this shift has caused controversy among not only academics, but also ethnic minorities on the ground. It is alleged that some aspects of the rationale and mechanisms of the community cohesion approach are questionable. In particular, it is noted that the CCA focuses on the race, ethnicity, and religion of immigrants to the UK. In the light of these recent debates, the research explores and assesses the foundations, rationale, and mechanisms of the CCA by analysing some “community cohesion” policy interventions in the ethnic minority communities of Aston, Birmingham, England. A qualitative research approach has been followed for this research. From the research, it appears that there is a great deal of confusion among the policy actors in the field regarding the fundamental conception of “community cohesion” and its approaches and mechanisms. In addition, it appears that the CCA is based on some contested perceptions regarding the multicultural communities of the UK. In many cases, the CCA is considered to be assimilatory. Moreover, the research reveals specific failings of the CCA. Thus, the research advocates for a broader agenda, the multiple inequality agenda, with an objective to counter all inequalities.

Keywords: Community Integration, Multiculturalism, Social Policy

The International Journal of Community Diversity, Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.35-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: September 2, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 435.762KB)).

Dr. Samiul Parvez Ahmed

Assistant Professor, School of Business, Independent University, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh