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Volume 1 | Issue 1
Autumn 2006

An Unsatisfactory Discussion of the Process of Ethnic Minority Integration in Ireland

Chris Gilligan

Faculty of Social Sciences, Magee College, University of Ulster

This article sets out a completely unsatisfactory discussion of politics on ethnic minority integration in Ireland. It may be unsatisfactory because of the shortcomings of the author, but I prefer to think that it is because the issue itself has been discussed in terms which are inadequate. I suggest a range of different ways of approaching an analysis of the issue of ethnic minority integration in Ireland. These different approaches all have their strengths which commend them, but they also have their limitations. I end up by arguing that perhaps we need to challenge the use of the term ‘integration’ itself, and in particular to expose and criticize the misanthropic assumptions which increasingly appear to be a feature of discussions about ethnic minority integration.

Keywords: integration, disintegration, metaphor, misanthropy, labour, human beings

An unsatisfactory discussion

All articles have a beginning and an end. This is how some people view the process of minority integration. It begins with policies which aim to integrate ethnic minorities who have previously been excluded, and it ends when those minorities are successfully integrated. I want to argue against this way of conceiving the integration of ethnic minorities, but how do I begin?

The process of integration involves real people so perhaps this is the best way to start an analysis of the process of integration in Ireland, with a biographical approach, with real people who are the subjects of integration. With a person – Drazen Nozinic – not a procedure. Drazen arrived in Ireland on 27 August 1992, a refugee from the war in the former Yugoslavia. For Drazen, as with most immigrants, the process of integration began before he arrived in Ireland. He already had some ties to Ireland. He did not come to Ireland by chance, but was helped by Irish friends he knew before he set foot on Irish soil. These ties were weak, he had never been to Ireland before, his friends no longer lived in Ireland, but these ties, and the social networks in Ireland which they enabled Drazen to link into, were crucial to his eventual success in gaining Irish citizenship. This success was not guaranteed. Immediately he set foot on Irish soil his integration was resisted. One of his first acts on Irish soil was to claim asylum. The response of the representatives of the Irish state was to refuse him entry and escort him back onto the plane that he had just disembarked from, (an act which was against the official guidelines of the Department of Justice in the Republic of Ireland). He returned again on the 3rd of September 1992 (Nozinic 2002).

But already I feel uncomfortable with this biographical approach. The only reason I have access to Drazen’s story is because he has written it up. I am able to use his story, not because he has given me explicit permission, but because he has made it public as part of the wider discussion about immigration and racism. But why choose this story from amongst the other stories which are in the public domain? Why choose the story of a refugee? Why choose someone from south-east Europe? What about migrant workers? What about migrants from other parts of Europe, or beyond? Why choose a man’s story? I could have, for example, chosen from among the very different experiences of a range of African women (Akinjobi 2006), or different Muslims in Northern Ireland (McCombe, Khan 2005), or an Irish Traveller (Joyce, Farmar 1985). These biases indicate a major problem with a biographical approach: how do we choose which biographies to use? No single story, or even range of stories, is wholly representative and choosing amongst them involves making decisions about inclusion and exclusion, interpretation and meaning.

My choice of Drazen was an arbitrary choice, it came from the book which came most easily to hand in my office. What was an arbitrary choice for me in the context of my personal library, however, was far from arbitrary when we look beyond the confines of this collection of articles and books. I was limited to the materials which are already in the public domain. But these stories tend to be written by people who have become integrated to the extent that they can openly talk about the process. What about those who have not been successful? They are usually written out of the record of history, or only appear as a statistic, a number which has been subtracted from the total living on the island. A biographical account is too specific. It tells us about individuals and their particular experiences, but it does not tell us about integration as a societal process. So perhaps this is not the best way to start.

I could begin by saying that integration is a social process, not a procedure. The process of integration often involves a range of different established procedures, the legal procedure for becoming a naturalised citizen for example, but if we think of integration as a collection of procedures we reduce it to a technical process in which problems are understood in technical terms. We are constrained to thinking in the language of administration: accountable, efficient, effective, fair, lawful, and other such procedural terms. These terms can be useful in discussing the process of integration, but we require a more extensive vocabulary in order to more adequately conceive the complexity and dynamics of the process of integration. In some respects integration is about tying down, fixing, unifying, incorporating in a whole, but it should also be about opening up and diversifying the whole. The conception of integration as something which has a fixed beginning and end tends to limit our horizons. If we view integration as an open-ended process we also open up our thinking about the process. Rather than focus our attention on an outcome, the completed or failed integration, it focuses our attention on interaction and change across time.

It is also useful to think of integration as a two-way process in which not only those who are being integrated (the integratees) are changed, but so too is the society that they are being integrated into. The immigrants that arrived in Ireland in the 1990s, for example, encountered an Ireland which has changed since then, and the immigrants of the 1990s, those who arrived before them and those who have arrived since, have played a part in those changes (Leong 2001). Thinking of integration as an active, open-ended and two-way process allows us to better conceive the integratees as active participants who are involved in a double creative process: changing the society around them and changing themselves. Thinking of integration as a two-way process also allows us to see that it is not only the integratees who change, all of us change in the process. But perhaps this is not the way to begin a discussion of minority integration. This way of talking about integration seems too harmonious; I have glossed over the conflicts involved in the process.

Perhaps a better way to begin is to highlight the fact that the process of integration involves interactions, or relationships, between the integratees and the society in which they are integrating. Integration involves the integratees in two different sets of relationships - one with those who assist the process of integration, and one with those who resist it – which are also characterized by two different kinds of relationship – cooperation and antagonism. The process of integration is a contested one and not only, or even primarily, contested between integratees and society, but also between those who assist and those who resist the process of integration (see Diagram 1).

Diagram 1 Three sets of relationships in the process of integration

The first set of relationships, between integratees and the assisters of integration, is the focus of much of the policy literature on integration. The second set of relationships, between integratees and the resisters of integration, is the focus of the literature on racism, and other forms of discrimination which provide obstacles to integration. The third set of relationships, however, is often overlooked in analyses of the process of integration. Bringing the third set of relationships into the picture helps to move us away from binary thinking. The inclusion of the third set of relationships in the picture also helps to shift the focus away from the integratees as the central element in the process. We should also be aware that it is often the third set of relationships which are the most important ones in the process, and that often as analysts we make the same mistake as those who promote or resist integration and place too much importance on the integratees.

The picture that we have painted helps to capture the dynamics of the process of integration, but it is still too limited. It only points to relationships between categories, as if these categories were homogeneous. These categories, however, are far from homogeneous. Take the example of assisters of integration. The objectives and motivations of those who assist integration are widely varied. Those employers, for example, who help migrant workers to gain time-limited permits to enter the country, assist temporary integration through providing official status and employment. This, however, is very different from those who campaign for an end to restrictive asylum practices. Both assist the process of integration, but in different ways and to different extents. There may be circumstances in which these two different categories of assisters of integration work together, but there can also be circumstances in which their different motivations and objectives bring them into conflict with each other.

So perhaps this is where we should start, with an outline of the different conceptions of what integration means: the minority integratees adopting the culture and values of the societal majority (what Thomas Faist calls the old model of assimilation); the majority society absorbing some elements of the culture and values of the minority, while the minority adapt to the majority society (new model of assimilation); the minority and majority maintain their own culture and values, distinct from each other (cultural pluralism or multiculturalism) (Faist 2003). These different conceptions are incompatible, even though they all favour integration. The incompatability of these different conceptions is not, however, adequately captured in the kind of typological approach adopted by Faist. Koopmans and Statham point out that it tends ‘to obscure both the dynamic aspects of the process of migrant integration, and the important differences within states, both among the integration approaches advocated by different political actors, and among those applied to different categories of immigrant’ (Koopmans, Statham 2000: 20). A typological approach tends to conceptualise the process of integration as a list of criteria that can then be ticked-off to arrive at a categorization of the process, or as a grid within which we can locate different states and actors. Instead of a list or a grid Koopmans and Statham suggest conceptualising citizenship policies within a two-dimensional space (or field), with ‘who can be a citizen?’ on one axis and ‘what cultural obligations do citizens have?’ on the other (see Diagram 2).

Diagram 2 A two-dimensional space for situating concepts of citizenship


Some countries have made citizenship relatively easy for members of the titular ethnic group to acquire, but difficult for those of different ‘blood’ descent. This is known as a jus sanguinis (the law of blood) tradition of citizenship. Germany, until recent changes in the law, was often held up as the prime example of this tradition in Europe. In very crude terms the tradition meant that after 1989 people from the former Soviet bloc, and its satellite states, who could claim German ethnicity were automatically granted German citizenship, even if they did not speak German or were completely ignorant of German history and cultural traditions. In contrast to this the children of Turkish parents who had come to Germany to work in the post-second world war period (Gastarbeiter), children who had been born and educated in Germany, spoke fluent German and were familiar with German history and culture, found it difficult to acquire citizenship (Marshall 2000).

Countries with a jus sanguinis tradition would be located at the top of the ‘field’ described by the parameters of the diagram. The jus soli (the law of the soil) tradition has generally been more open in defining who can become a citizen of the nation-state (for a critical discussion of both concepts see: Weil 1996). Countries in this tradition would be located at the bottom of the diagram. The other axis in the diagram refers to the extent to which the state expects citizens to conform to a particular cultural standard. France is the country which is most often cited as an example of a country which demands cultural assimilation. France, it is often said, is open to anyone irrespective of ‘race’, colour or creed, with the important caveat that they must also become culturally French. The Netherlands and the United Kingdom are often referred to as multicultural or cultural pluralist in their orientation and are said to be more tolerant of minorities maintaining their cultural practices while also being citizens of the nation-state. France would lie to the left of the diagram, while the Netherlands and the UK would lie towards the right.

This is a potentially useful framework in which to analyse differences in the process of integration in the Republic of Ireland compared to Northern Ireland; a comparison which is virtually absent from the literature on ethnic minorities in Ireland (for a notable exception see: Feldman et al. 2005). Conceptualising citizenship as a space, or a ‘field’, allows us to better visualize the dynamics involved in the process of integration. The field is not fixed, different nation-states are located in different positions in the field, but they also move position. Visualising the process of integration spatially helps us to capture this sense of movement. This approach, for example, looks very promising for anyone who wants to examine the ways in which the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004 (passed after the 2004 Referendum in the Republic of Ireland) altered the field of integration (by moving the state from near the bottom of the field to near the top).

It would help researchers to think about the ways that this shift impacted on institutions and groups working in the policy area of integration. This conceptualisation of a ‘field’ also allows us to position different social actors in the same nation-state – political parties, pressure groups and other organisations with an input into the policy area – as occupying different positions (the Progressive Democrats, for example, would be positioned in a different location to Sinn Fein). In this way we can better appreciate the dynamics of political contention over the issue of integration. We could also alter the criteria on the axis of the diagram, or add another axis. We might, for example, have an axis which locates actors in relation to their view on approaches to discrimination: negative discrimination – equality of opportunity – positive discrimination (on different conceptions of equal opportunities see e.g.: Jewson, Mason 1992). Or we could apply the approach to different sectors of society – law, politics, work, housing, education, culture, religion – in both their formal and informal operation (Engbersen 2003). Approaches which conceptualise the process of integration as a field in which different policy actors, with varying conceptions of what integration is, occupy different, competing positions seem compelling. These approaches capture the dynamics of the process of integration, they also, however, share a common assumption, that integration is something that the state does. So maybe this is not the best way to start our analysis.

Perhaps a better way to start an analysis of ethnic minority integration in Ireland today is to challenge this key assumption in the discussion. The idea that integration is something which the state can do is one of the most fundamental assumptions in the various debates about the issue of ethnic minority integration in Europe today. There are different positions in this debate and different conceptions about what the nature of the problem is, but almost all of those involved in the debate assume a central role for the state in helping to bring about the integration of ethnic minorities. Some view the problem as residing in the cultures of minority ethnic communities, cultures which are resistant to change, or (on issues such as the position of women in society) as at odds with liberal-democratic values. Others view the problem as residing in the structures of society, structures which resist the integration of ethnic minorities through putting the onus on minorities to change, rather than thinking about the ways that social structures should change to acknowledge the cultural diversity of contemporary societies. Others view the problem as residing in particular sections of the ‘host’ society, sections of society which resist modernising tendencies. All of these views, however, suggest a central role for the state in tackling the issue of integration.

We can illustrate this by, for example, looking at contemporary debates about multiculturalism and the problem of integration in the Britain and in the Netherlands. In these two different countries both the critics and supporters of multicultural policies suggest a central role for the state in the process of integration. The critics of multiculturalism accuse minority ethnic communities of not doing enough to learn about the culture of the society that they inhabit in order for them to participate in that society. They point to growing segregation in schools and in residential areas and argue that minority ethnic communities need to do more to integrate. The state can enable this integration through the introduction of citizenship tests and the promotion of competency in the main language of the nation-state. The supporters of multicultural policies argue that segregation comes about due to institutional racism which: favours the culture of the host society and denigrates the cultures of minorities. They argue for a greater openness towards cultural diversity. Blaming minority ethnic communities for their lack of integration, they argue, is a case of blaming the victims for their victim status. The structures of society should be adjusted in order to help facilitate integration. The cultures of minority ethnic communities should be acknowledged as an integral part of the diverse make-up of contemporary society. Multiculturalism is not a barrier to integration, they argue, it is the means by which minority ethnic communities and society at large come to better understand each other (Back et al. 2002; Kymlicka 2003; Lewis, Neal 2005; Schuster, Solomos 2001).

In these debates on the relative merits of multicultural policies, and in the debates on integration in general, the issue at stake is the state policies; their applicability, their effects, the framing of the issues, and so on. The role of the state as central to the process of integration, however, is rarely questioned. As Favell puts it: ‘the key thing about the list of measures seen to be part of “integration policy”, is that they are all things that a state can “do”… Such a use [of the term integration] precludes the idea that a society might achieve an integrated state of affairs without the state’s intervention’ (Favell 2005: 43). Perhaps we should question this assumption and ask: why is state intervention necessary for successful ethnic minority integration?

Favell points out that ‘countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal’, as relatively new to the experience of significant inward migration and as ‘countries with weaker state penetration of society or the market’, should perhaps not look to the ‘larger nations who continue to offer their models’ (Favell 2005: 59). This is a warning that should also be heeded in Ireland, north and south. Favell suggests that the celebrated multiculturalism of major British cities may be due to the weak penetration of the state into ethnic communities rather than the consequence of such a policy. The issue of state intervention also underlies the conceptual distinction that Malik makes between multiculturalism as description and multiculturalism as prescription (Malik 2005). He warns that policies based on multiculturalism, as a term which prescribes how society should be, creates the very problems it is meant to solve by elevating differences and making their recognition central to state policy. Both Favell and Malik suggest that ethnic minorities are not victims in need of state assistance, but are autonomous individuals who are able to develop their own ways of organising to support themselves and work with others. Malik takes a laissez faire approach to the question of cultural identity, and both he and Favell suggest that ethnic minorities may be best served by a laissez faire, rather than a state-led, approach to integration.

Perhaps we should start by questioning the assumption that there is such a thing as an integration policy. The idea that there is such a thing as integration policy suggests that there is some rationale or some overarching purpose to measures aimed at integration. Policy towards integration, however, often seems to be a contradictory mix of measures that are developed on an ad hoc basis in response to some quite specific problems. Perhaps we should think of ‘integration’ as a metaphor not a policy objective. In our contemporary world, Urry argues, ‘metaphors of network, flow and travel… are now more rhetorically persuasive because these metaphors appear to be going with the grain of much contemporary experience, with the perceived sense that global processes are producing a “shrinking world”’ (2000: 22). Integration is the antithesis of these metaphors of movement; it suggests tying down, fixing, unifying, incorporating in a whole. Perhaps it is better to think of integration as a metaphor deployed as a salve to fears of the effects of globalized world which is out of control. A world variously described as: ‘liquid modernity’; ‘risk society’; a ‘runaway world’ (Bauman 2000; Beck 1992; Giddens 2000). There is a powerful sense that the world is out of control today. Take this passage, which seems to speak to our contemporary condition:

‘Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation… All fixed, fast-frozen relations… are swept away, all new formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned… The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe… exploitation of the world market has given a cosmopolitan character to consumption and production in every country… All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed’.

The quote, however, is from the middle of the nineteenth century, not the beginning of the twenty-first (Marx and Engels 1988). The contemporary concern about societal disintegration is not a new one. It was, for example, one of the motivating concerns for the development of the discipline of sociology. Durkheim wrote extensively on how the development of a extensive division of labour in industry heightened anomie and led to the need for new moral codes which would ensure social order (Durkheim 1984: first published in 1893). Tönnies wrote about the decline of community based on intimate affective bonds (Gemeinschaft) and the shift to a society characterised by temporary, shifting, contractually based relationships (Gesellschaft) (Tönnies 2001: first published in 1887). As the nineteenth century turned towards the twentieth a sense of decline and disintegration was also discernable in Irish nationalism and the Gaelic Revival (Garvin 1987; Lyons 1979).

Capitalism, as a social system which is organised around the market as a mechanism through which societies human and material resources are allocated, is inherently out of control. It is unstable, spontaneous, dynamic and unpredictable. Capitalism has, paradoxically, helped to massively expand human capabilities, but is simultaneously experienced as a power which stands over us. There is nothing radically new in this. There is, however, undoubtedly something new in the way that we experience capitalism as a social system. The key thing, it seems to me, which is different today is our sense that it is not possible to do anything about to take control of our destiny, or even worse, that attempting to do so only makes matters worse. As Furedi notes in relation to the institutionalisation of the precautionary principle in management, government and everyday life, we appear to be suspicious not just of the problems thrown up by modern life, but we are ‘also suspicious of finding solutions to our predicament’ (Füredi 2002: 9). Talking about integration as a metaphor tends to obscure the misanthropy that informs much of the discussion, so perhaps this is not the best way to start.

Perhaps we should start an analysis of integration with an aphorism penned by the Swiss playwright and essayist Max Frisch in 1965. Talking of migration into Europe in the period he said: ‘we called labourers, and human beings came’. This speaks to the contemporary discussion of integration. Capitalism increasingly demands the circulation of the commodity, labour, around the globe, but this commodity, unique amongst commodities, comes encumbered with its humanity. Capitalist society demands the commodity, but is perturbed by its surplus packaging. This can be seen in many of the contemporary discussions of managed migration, which argues for the necessity of measures which will ease the circulation of the commodity labour, but constrain and regulate its surplus packaging. The proposed international regime of managed migration reads like a combination of a customer services division of international trade and a new transnational thought police (Ghosh 2000; Veenkamp 2003).

Three examples should help to illustrate the market orientated discussion of managed migration. A new international regime for orderly movements of people, it would appear, is necessary to:

• ensure that the correct components are delivered to the most appropriate points in the supply chain (health workers, for example, manufactured in South Asia and South East Asia and then shipped to points of consumption in west European health services)

• faulty goods or those which were not ordered (refugees and asylum seekers) are returned to the manufacturer

• service operators who do not file their tax returns and/or operate outside of trading standards (traffickers) need to be punished severely

While the market is treated as unproblematic there is a growing tendency to treat people as problematic. New policies which present themselves as anti-racist can appear appealing to many people who have spent years trying to challenge racism. The Official Report of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry in the United Kingdom, for example, marked a shift ‘in which racism and racists rather than ethnic minorities are increasingly being presented as social problems (or diseases) to be removed from society’ (McGhee 2005: 15). This would be a welcome development if it were not for the fact that virtually everyone is now considered to be a racist, it is considered almost part of the human condition. Sometimes the most radical anti-racists also appear to be the most misanthropic. McGhee, for example, notes that two of Britain’s leading critical criminologists criticised the coverage given to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry by the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, (two traditionally right wing newspapers which regularly carry sensationalist stories about immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers). According to the two academics these newspapers had demonized and pathologised the five men suspected of killing Stephen Lawrence and referred to them as ‘the racist “savages” who killed Stephen Lawrence’ (cited in: McGhee, 2005: 26). The main thrust of the complaint, however, was not that the five men were being demonized but that ‘this demonisation… distanced [racism] from mainstream society. Racism was thus depicted as the overt and violent practices of a few dangerous people and not a social problem… endemic in mainstream society’ (McGhee, 2005: 26). Being a radical anti-racist today, it appears, means finding racism everywhere.

Why do so many contemporary state policies which are promoted as ‘people centred’ appear to start from misanthropic premises? Does anyone benefit from policies which take fear or suspicion of human actions as their starting point? Perhaps this misanthropy is the most important assumption to challenge. Then again, this is an unconventional view, and possibly an unpopular view. So perhaps this is not the best way to start an analysis of the process of minority ethnic integration.

Perhaps a better way to begin is by saying, look at the references in the bibliography, they are just a starting point, my research is still underway, I don’t have the answers, I just feel that the state of the current discussion on the topic is unsatisfactory, I feel a need to ask more searching questions, to challenge assumptions. But my choice of articles reveals my own biases and the limitations of my own reading. So maybe I should suggest that you only use the bibliography as a starting point, pick and choose from amongst the articles and go out and find other material for yourself. But am I leaving all the difficult work to you, the reader? Yes, maybe that is the best way to begin.


Akinjobi, O.P. (ed) 2006, herstory: Migration Stories of African Women in Ireland , AkiDwA – African Women's Network, Dublin .

Back, L., Keith, M., Khan, A., Shukra, K. & Solomos, J. 2002, "New Labour's White Heart: Politics, Multiculturalism and the Return of Assimilation", Political Quarterly, vol. 73, pp. 445-454.

Bauman, Z. 2000, Liquid modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge .

Beck, U. 1992, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, Sage Pubns.

Bourdieu, P. 1999, The weight of the world: social suffering in contemporary society, Polity, Cambridge .

Durkheim, E. 1984, The division of labour in society, Macmillan, London .

Düvell, F. (ed) 2006, Illegal immigration in Europe: beyond control? , Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke .

Engbersen, G. 2003, "Spheres of integration: towards a differentiated and reflexive ethnic minority policy" in Identity and integration: migrants in Western Europe, eds. R. Sackmann, B. Peters & T. Faist, Aldershot, pp. 59-76.

Faist, T. 2003, "Amalgamating newcomers, national minority and Diaspora - Integration(s) of immigrants from Poland in Germany" in Identity and integration: migrants in Western Europe, eds. R. Sackmann, B. Peters & T. Faist, Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 205-234.

Favell, A. 2005, "Integration nations: the nation-state and research on immigrants in Western Europe" in International migration research: constructions, omissions and the promises of interdisciplinarity , eds. M. Bommes & E.T. Morawska, Ashgate, Aldershot , pp. 41-67.

Feldman, A., Ndakengerwa, d.l., Nolan, A. & Frese, C. 2005, Diversity, civil society and social change in Ireland: A North-South comparison of the role of immigrant/'new' minority ethnic-led community and voluntary sector organisations , Migration & Citizenship Research Institute, Geary Institute, UCD, Dublin.

Füredi, F. 2002, Culture of fear: risk-taking and the morality of low expectation, Revised edn, Continuum, London .

Garvin, T. 1987, Nationalist revolutionaries in Ireland 1858-1928, Clarendon, Oxford .

Ghosh, B. (ed) 2000, Managing migration: time for a new international regime? , Oxford University Press, Oxford .

Giddens, A. 2000, Runaway world: how globalisation is reshaping our lives, Routledge , New York .

Hayter, T. 2000, Open borders: the case against immigration controls, Pluto Press, London .

Jewson, N. & Mason, D. 1992, "The theory and practice of equal opportunities policies: liberal and radical approaches" in Racism and antiracism : inequalities, opportunities and policies , eds. P. Braham, A. Rattansi & R. Skellington, Sage Publications, London, pp. 218-234.

Joyce, N. & Farmar, A. 1985, Traveller an autobiography, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin .

Koopmans, R. & Statham, P. 2000, "Migration and ethnic relations as a field of political contention: an opportunity structure approach" in Challenging immigration and ethnic relations politics: comparative European perspectives , eds. R. Koopmans & P. Statham, Oxford University Press, Oxford , pp. 13-56.

Kymlicka, W. 2003, "Immigration, Citizenship, Multiculturalism: Exploring the Links", The Political Quarterly, vol. 74, no. s 1, pp. 195-208.

Lasch-Quinn, E. 2001, Race experts: how racial etiquette, sensitivity training, and new age therapy hijacked the civil rights revolution, Norton, New York ; London.

Leong, F.C. 2001, A Unique way of sharing: The participation of black and minority ethnic people in volunteering and community activity in Northern Ireland , Volunteer Development Agency , Northern Ireland , Belfast .

Lewis, G. & Neal, S. 2005, "Introduction: Contemporary political contexts, changing terrains and revisited discourses", Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 423-444.

Lyons , F.S.L. 1979, Culture and anarchy in Ireland , 1890-1939, Clarendon Press; Oxford University Press, Oxford ; New York .

Malik, K.A. 2005, "Making a difference: culture, race and social policy", Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 39, no. 4, pp. 361-378.

Marshall, B. 2000, The new Germany and migration in Europe, Manchester University Press, Manchester .

Marx, K. 1988, The Communist manifesto: annotated text, W.W. Norton, New York ; London .

McCombe, M. & Khan, M. M. Dr 2005, Muslims in Northern Ireland : contributions and achievements with a historical introduction, Al-Nisa Association Northern Ireland, Belfast .

McGhee, D. 2005, Intolerant Britain ?: hate, citizenship and difference, Open University Press, Maidenhead.

McLaughlin, K. 2005, "From ridicule to institutionalization: anti-oppression, the state and social work", Critical Social Policy, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. pp.283-305.

Nozinic, D. 2002, "One refugee experience in Ireland" in Racism and anti-racism in Ireland , eds. R. Lentin & R. McVeigh, Beyond The Pale Publications, Belfast, pp. 248.

Schuster, L. & Solomos, J. 2001, "Introduction: citizenship, multiculturalism, identity", Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 3-12.

Sontag, S. 1991, Illness as metaphor/AIDS and its metaphors, Penguin, London .

Tönnies, F. 2001, Community and civil society, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge .

Urry, J. 2000, Sociology beyond societies: mobilities for the next century, Routledge, London ; New York .

Veenkamp, T.G. 2003, People flow: managing migration in a new European commonwealth, Demos, London .

Weil, P. 1996, "Nationalities and citizenships: the lessons of the French experience for Germany and Europe" in Citizenship, nationality and migration in Europe , eds. D. Cesarani & M. Fulbrook, Routledge, London , pp. 74-87.


1.A version of this article was presented at a seminar organised by postgraduate students at the Academy of Irish Cultural Heritages , University of Ulster . I am grateful to the students for inviting me to speak and for their comments on the paper. The article has also benefited from comments provided by the two anonymous peer reviewers. Any errors which remain are of my own making.

2.For a brilliant example of situated and sociologically informed biographies, many of which engage with issues of minority ethnic experiences, see: Bourdieu 1999.

3.All thinking, of course, involves the use of metaphors (Sontag 1991; Urry 2000: 21-48). In relation to migration it is commonplace to find metaphors of movement, such as migration ‘flows', or more often in sensationalist mass media ‘floods' of immigrants.

4.The German original is: ‘Man hat Arbeitskräfte gerufen, und es kamen Menschen', and the source is: Max Frisch, Vorwort, in: Alexander J. Seiler, "Siamo italiani. Gespräche mit italienischen Arbeitern in der Schweiz" (We are Italian. Talks with Italian workers in Switzerland ) Zürich: EVZ-Verlag 1965, p. 7. The quote is widely known in Germany and there are a number of slight variations, from a number of different publications. The author is indebted to the members of the online mailing/discussion list http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EastEuropeanMigration/ for providing the original source and a range of useful background materials.

5.The dominant discussion is one which speaks in terms of managed migration, for more critical approaches to international movements of people see: Düvell 2006, Hayter 2000.

6.For critical views of anti-racist policies in the United States and the United Kingdom see: Lasch-Quinn 2001; McLaughlin 2005.

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