Regionalization of Social Work: Is there a way to reconcile national integration policy with transnational everyday worlds?
Sociology University of Munich Muenchen, Germany
Integration of immigrants increasingly becomes a central issue in social policies worldwide. However, its discourse seems to lack an appropriate distinction between two different aspects of integration: a formal (i.e. political and legal) integration on the one hand and an integration experienced by migrants in their transnational everyday worlds on the other hand. The former is ensured mostly by nation-states giving the right to vote and/or permanent residence. The latter relates to migrants' cultural identity and self-contentment in local communities and doesn't necessarily accompany the former one.
This paper highlights the discrepancy of these two types of integration and seeks to establish a conceptual framework to grasp the interpretative aspect of social integration.
Firstly, I review - referring to Durkheim, Parsons and Marshall - the modern sociological understanding of "the social" and point out a basic assumption which today's social policies seems to have in common: shared values and norms as the very condition of the social cohesion. Then I take up Luhmann's concepts "inclusion-dividuality" and "exclusion-individuality" in order to address the question of comprehending "the social" without individual loyalty to generalized norms and values as social bondage.
Applying Luhmann's concepts to the analysis of success and failure in recent communal integration policies in Munich, finally, I illustrate the practice of making societies from the bottom as well as its dynamics operating between different perspectives on integration.