Introduction: Theorizing the Civic Turn in European Integration Policies

Per Mouritsen, Kristian Kriegbaum Jensen, Stephen Larin

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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Many authors have written about the ‘civic turn’ in European immigrant integration politics and policies that began in the late 1990s, but few have focused on the conceptual or normative dimensions of this turn. The purpose of this special issue is to help correct this situation. In this substantive introductory article, we begin with a discussion of the ‘convergence or national models’ debate that dominated early work on the subject. The next section presents the argument that civic integration is best understood as an ideological turn. It expands ‘good citizenship’ into personal conduct and values, shifts the responsibility for integration from the state to individuals and institutionalizes incentivizing and disciplining integration processes, which are often really just a means of migration control. This is accompanied, we argue, by a civic nationalist conception of membership that appeals to shared political values but defines those values through the culture of the state’s national majority. We then move on to the mechanisms and effects of civic integration, followed by a discussion of its normative analysis, before finally summarizing the articles included in this special issue and how they address the concerns that we have raised.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)595-613
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Civic integration
  • citizenship
  • civic turn
  • convergence
  • immigrant integration
  • national models
  • nationalism
  • theory

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