Achieving Social Cohesion: Impact of Insecurity, Fear and Racism on Migrant Integration

By Hurriyet Babacan and Alperhan Babacan.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In many Western nations with high numbers of immigrant intake there are public debates casting doubt on the

§ The levels and success of integration of newly arrived migrants

§ The success or failure of multicultural policies

§ The threat that migrants from different cultures and religions pose to national identity, national values and social cohesion

This paper explores the linkages between immigrant integration and social cohesion in light of current questioning of multiculturalism, immigration intake programs in the context of a climate of war on terror, racial profiling and racism. Drawing on her own research from Australia, the author excavates the preconditions for successful integration of immigrants and unpacks the relationship integration to social cohesion. The paper will examine the key settlement and issues facing migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Australia; identify the role that ‘fear’ plays in preventing successful integration of immigrants (both from the point of view of the newly arrived immigrant and also host society); examine what impact racism, racial profiling, stereotyping directed at particular groups that are deemed as being a ‘risk’ (e.g. Muslims, Africans or asylum seekers) on this groups’ inability’ to integrate; analyse the impact of the discussion on national values and national identity on the creation of a socially cohesive society; and review the role of government in creating social cohesion.

The paper will conclude with an exploration of good practice in communities to build social capital, resilience and capacity and a discussion of possible ways forward to develop strategies to build social cohesion in multicultural societies.

Keywords: Immigration, Integration, Social Cohesion, Racism

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.213-222. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 592.860KB).

Prof. Hurriyet Babacan

Professor- Social and Cultural Development, Institute for Community Engagement and Policy Alternatives, Victoria University, Warner, Qld, Australia

Professor Hurriyet Babacan is the Professor of Social and Cultural Development at Victoria University. Prior to that Hurriyet was the Associate Director, Centre for Multicultural and Community Development at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Hurriyet has over 20 years of experience as an academic, public servant, community worker, researcher and trainer in the government, community and university sectors. Hurriyet was the Executive Director, Multicultural Affairs, Women’s Policy and Community Outcomes Branch in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Government, Commissioner with the inaugural Ethnic Affairs Commission in Victoria and was Victorian Manager, Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Hurriyet has published widely in national and international publications on the issues of multiculturalism, immigration, identity, social policy, gender, racism, settlement and community development including two publications for UNESCO on gender and development. In 2005 Hurriyet was the co-convenor of the international conference title Racisms in the New World Order: Realities of Colour, Culture and Identity in 2005 and 2007. She has signed a publishing contract for a book on racism (being co-authored with N. Gopalkrishnan) will be published early 2007. Hurriyet has an extensive research background on a range of relating to immigration, multiculturalism and community development. She has been invited to give keynote papers in many international and national conferences. Hurriyet also has been a founding member of numerous non-government organisations. Hurriyet has been recognised for her work through a number of awards including the Bi-Centenary Medal awarded by the Prime Minister, 2002 and the Multicultural Services Award by the Premier of Queensland.

Alperhan Babacan

RMIT University, Australia


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