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Immigration_and_the_Welfare_State_in_Denmark_by_Nilay_Kilinc

Immigration_and_the_Welfare_State_in_Denmark_by_Nilay_Kilinc...

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Page 1 of 17 This paper shall not be reproduced in whole or part by any means without permission of the author. This paper does not represent the views of İ stanbul Bilgi University.
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Page 2 of 17 Immigration and the Welfare State in Denmark Nilay Kılınç (10713046) Istanbul Bilgi University IR 472 Europe and Migration, Prof. Dr. Ayhan Kaya Introduction It is claimed that immigration may put the legitimacy of the welfare states under pressure (Soroka, Banting & Johnston, 2003). The typical argument refers that cultural homogeneity is a precondition of the solidarity that is the essence of the welfare state (Miller, 1995: 90-99; Brochmann, 2003). Denmark was traditionally one of the most ethnically homogenous societies in the world, and occasionally, Danes have been described as a tribe (Gundelach, 2001) The breaking point of the homogeneous Danish society can be taken as the 1960‟s and 1970‟s when the state r eceived labor migrants and later asylum-seekers and refugees from countries of conflict and political oppression outside Europe itself. (Westin, 2005) Politically, Denmark moved from the idea of adjustment 1 and assimilation as the way to incorporate migrants in the early 1970‟s to the more liberal approach of promoting integration and accepting cultural and ethnic diversity as a natural condition of the society in the 1990‟s. However, today some indications can be found of a return to less liberal views on immigration and multiculturalism in Denmark. This approach shows that immigrants once were useful; they had a “utility”. Then with the rise of post- industrial society they became a “burden”. Not only in terms of “industrial regime” 2 but also in terms of social cohesion, immigrants became a threat for the solidarity of the welfare state- the welfare state that depends on a “shared national identity and culture.” 1 The concept of adjustment was the key term employed by the Swedish authorities to refer to the process of incorporating migrants into mainstream society and this concept was embraced by the other Nordic states in their politics vis a vis the immigrants. (Westin, 2005) 2 Within the industrial regime, with its technological objects and sceintific methods, the grandeur is about efficiency, productivity, ensuring functionality and giving utalitarian answers to needs. This is of course the world of industrial capitalism. Here, professional expertise count as “grand”. Unproductive people are “small”. Progress, planning and organization are given pride of place. (Boltanski & Thévenot, 1991: 252 -262)
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Page 3 of 17 Today, what is seen in Denmark can be called “welfare state chauvinism” where it leads to a general tendency towards immigration as being the reason for an erosion of solidarity. This paper aims to elaborate theoretically the linkage between immigration and legitimacy of the welfare and the way in which Denmark uses migration rhetoric institutionally. Finally, the paper will cover Denmark‟s experiences of political mobilization on the issue of immigration
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