Citizens and Citizenship

The Rhetoric of Dutch Immigrant Integration Policy in 2011

in The International Journal of Social Quality
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  • 1 European Research Initiative for Critical Migration Studies (ERIMIS) erimis2014@gmail.com
  • 2 Erasmus University Rotterdam gasper@iss.nl
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Abstract

The past generation has seen a switch to restrictive policies and language in the governance of migrants living in the Netherlands. Beginning in 2010, a new government with right-wing populist backing went further, declaring the centrality of proposed characteristic historic Dutch values. In this article, we investigate a key policy document to characterize and understand this policy change. Discourse analysis as an exploration of language choices, including use of ideas from rhetoric, helps us apply and test ideas from governmentality studies of migration and from discourse studies as social theorizing. We trace the chosen problem formulation; the delineation, naming, and predication of population categories; the understanding of citizenship, community, and integration; and the overall rhetoric, including chosen metaphors and nuancing of emphases, that links the elements into a meaning-rich world picture. A “neoliberal communitarian” conception of citizenship has emerged that could unfortunately subject many immigrants to marginalization and exclusion.

Contributor Notes

Dana Rem is a social scientist with a formation in psychology, sociology, criminology, policy analysis, and discourse analysis, and degrees from the University of Bucharest and the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. She has experience in various sectors of social policy and justice system reform, including in international public sector projects, research and academia. Since 2014, she runs the European Research Initiative for Critical Migration Studies (ERIMIS), including work on immigrant integration policies in the Netherlands. Email: erimis2014@gmail.com

Des Gasper is a professor in public policy at the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, a graduate school of international development studies within Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He is a coeditor of recent migration-related works that include the open access volume Gender, Migration and Social Justice (Springer, 2014), Transnational Migration and Human Security (Springer, 2011), and “Trans-local Livelihoods and Connections” (special issue, Gender, Technology and Development, 2008). Email: gasper@iss.nl

The International Journal of Social Quality

(formerly The European Journal of Social Quality)

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