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Imagined Societies
A Critique of Immigrant Integration in Western Europe


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  • Date Published: January 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107573093

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About the Authors
  • In many countries in Western Europe, the demand for immigrant integration has inevitably raised questions about the 'societies' into which immigrants are asked to integrate. Imagined Societies critically intervenes in debates on immigrant integration and multiculturalism in Western Europe. Schinkel argues that the term 'multiculturalism' is not used primarily to describe a type of policy or political philosophy in countries such as the Netherlands, France, Germany or Belgium, but rather as a rhetorical device that promotes demands for 'integration'. He analyses how such demands are ways of imagining the very idea of a 'host society' as 'modern', 'secular' and 'enlightened'. Starting from debates in social theory on social imaginaries, and drawing on public debates on citizenship, secularism and sexuality, and on the social science of measuring immigrant integration, this book presents a highly original study of immigrant integration that challenges our understanding of the concept of society.

    • Explores a range of case studies across European countries to analyse immigration and multiculturalism in Western Europe
    • Sets out a new view of immigrant integration that challenges the dominant, hegemonic understanding of immigrant integration in the social sciences
    • Proposes a new social theoretical conception of 'society' that advances public debate on European immigrant integration
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    • Winner, 2019 Best Book in the Study of Citizenship, The Center for the Study of Citizenship, Wayne State University

    Reviews & endorsements

    'Willem Schinkel is one of the most interesting people writing on issues of identity, cultural difference and the policy responses (and exacerbations) that are making these issues so fraught in Europe today. His work on the moralization of citizenship and the implicit models of society in the discourse about immigrants is informed by wide knowledge and is very insightful.' Craig Calhoun, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science

    'Schinkle offers an imaginative view of European identity and the immigration phenomenon at the center of current heated debates throughout Western Europe. His stimulating monograph underscores that what it has meant to be European has been both ephemeral and intangible for centuries.' P. Lorenzini, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107573093
    • length: 279 pages
    • dimensions: 150 x 225 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Immigrant integration imaginaries in Western Europe
    2. Imagining society: social theory and/as social imagination
    3. Measuring society: moral monitoring and the social science of 'immigrant integration'
    4. Transformations of racism: the rise of culturism
    5. Traditionally modern: contemporary frameworks of sexuality and religion
    6. The uses of citizenship
    7. Social science: between moral monitoring and public sociology.

  • Author

    Willem Schinkel, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
    Willem Schinkel is Professor of Social Theory at Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam. He is a member of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, and is a well-known intellectual in the Dutch public sphere.


    • Winner, 2019 Best Book in the Study of Citizenship, The Center for the Study of Citizenship, Wayne State University

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