Questioning Muslim Identity: A Critical Analysis of the Discourse on Muslim Integration

Scalvini, Marco (2013) Questioning Muslim Identity: A Critical Analysis of the Discourse on Muslim Integration. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


The continuing difficulty of integrating Muslims, especially immigrants, into the European nations, has led many ruling political leaders to question the merits of multiculturalism and simultaneously to promote integration through the strengthening and inculcation in the Muslim of a more general set of political values. This thesis aims to examine how these national debates are interconnected and how they attempt to frame a common discourse on integration of Muslims. In order to analyse this debate, I have selected three national debates in France, Germany and the UK and applied a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in order to compare similarities and the degree of convergence within the European public sphere. The analysis has sought to identify convergence by looking into the shared strategies of discourse through which civic integration is articulated, depending on the cultural and political particularities of each national context. The most significant finding to emerge from this study is that Muslims are asked to accept integration with their host countries, through a normative construction of collective identity that cuts across the different national discourses of Europe. These discursive constructions are based on similar definitions of the national values that belong to the European identity and, perhaps more crucially, those that do not belong. Accordingly, the normative and cultural assumptions that underlie various national discourses on civic integration are, in fact, based on European universalism, redefined at the national level. At the same time, this debate on integration systematically excludes the important economic and social problems of Muslim newcomers. Specifically, the discourse on civic integration avoids reference to any welfare program that attempts to produce economic security and social solidarity; Muslims become exclusively responsible for their own integration and civic integration is reduced to only their ability to internalise dominant values.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Humanities, Philosophy, History and Cultural Heritage (till the a.y. 2010-11)
PhD Cycle:24
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/08 SOCIOLOGIA DEI PROCESSI CULTURALI E COMUNICATIVI
Repository Staff approval on:17 Oct 2013 10:22

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