On the Reciprocal Subordination of Multiculturalism and Migration Policies

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Multiculturalism and migration are about different things. Migration is about movement of people across borders. It raises political questions about state sovereignty, territorial rights and freedom of movement. Multiculturalism is rather about political measures for handling and accommodating diversity within a given society. It raises political questions about equality, discrimination and integration. Therefore, while there are connections, multiculturalism and migration should be theorised differently and discussed on the basis of different principles and considerations. This distinction between multiculturalism and migration has nevertheless been blurred in recent policy developments. The blurring happens in two opposite directions. The multiculturalism backlash, i.e. the criticism of and hostility towards multiculturalism policies, has been extended to migration: because of hostility to diversity within societies and
multiculturalism policies supposed to accommodate this diversity, migration itself has become an object of criticism and hostility. Migration policy has been subordinated to concerns relating to multicultural diversity. Conversely, an analogous migration backlash, i.e. the widespread political unease about migration, has led to increased demands being placed on minorities already present: they are being subjected to harsher integration requirements, lower
social benefi ts and more severe conditions for family-unification and naturalisation. Multiculturalism policies have been subordinated to concerns relating to migration. The chapter identifies the empirical developments leading to these forms of subordination, provides a theoretical account of them, and argues that both forms of subordination are normatively problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMulticultural Governance in a Mobile World
EditorsAnna Triandafyllidou
Number of pages20
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Publication dateOct 2017
ISBN (Print)978 1 4744 2823 1, 9781474428248
ISBN (Electronic)9781474428255, 9781474428262
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • migration
  • Multikulturalisme
  • udlændingepolitik
  • integrationspolitik
  • Flygtninge og indvandrere
  • minoriteter

Cite this

Lægaard, S. (2017). On the Reciprocal Subordination of Multiculturalism and Migration Policies. In A. Triandafyllidou (Ed.), Multicultural Governance in a Mobile World (pp. 245-264). Edinburgh University Press.