UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citizenship
in European Cities (MPMC)


    1. Introduction

The MPMC project has been developed through successive stages. Its foundation rests in the collaborative research network of European-based social scientists which was forged through an international conference in 1992. Under the leadership of Prof. John Rex, the research network received support from the European Commission's COST A2 'Migration' Committee and from the British Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) between 1993-1995. After a number of steps (meetings in Gimo, Stockholm, Paris) the MPMC project was formally adopted by the UNESCO-MOST programme in July 1996. On October 9-11th, 1997 a seminar was held in Amsterdam organized by the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) from the University of Amsterdam. To prepare the seminar a 'workshop group' was established. This group consisted of: dr. Steven Vertovec (University of Oxford); dr. Marco Martiniello (University of Liège); prof. dr. Rinus Penninx; dr. Jean Tillie and dr. Meindert Fennema (IMES, University of Amsterdam).

In this elaborated project statement the workshop group presents the results of the Amsterdam seminar, integrated in the original project statement. The focus of the Amsterdam seminar was on:

    (a) further development of the general framework of the MPMC project, and
    (b) the organizational structure of the MPMC project
Here the relevant results with respect to both topics are presented. In section 2 the general description of the MPMC project is recapitulated (subject background, project aims and objectives). In section 3 the results of the Amsterdam discussions are integrated in a general framework for the study and in the contents of the so-called 'city templates'. Section 4 addresses the organizational structure of the project as was decided upon in the Amsterdam seminar.

    2. Project Description

    2.1. Subject Background
Now in their second and third generations, ethnic minorities and people of post-war immigrant origins have become essentially permanent residents throughout Europe. Such persons have legitimate needs, demands, rights and duties with respect to the (national and local) 'host societies'. This is so since, over time, they have contributed much through their labour, taxes, commercial services, participation in schools and neighbourhoods, and by enriching cultural landscapes. In practice, however, in every country of Europe immigrants and ethnic minorities have suffered disproportionately from a variety of forms of exclusion. Often they are formally excluded from the political decision making system, but there are also numerous other modes of exclusion affecting immigrants and ethnic minorities. These include in the socio-economic domain such matters as restricted access to the labour market (including public sector employment); limited opportunities for self-employment and small business formation; denial or differential provision of social welfare resources (including programmes for financial assistance, training, health, housing, insurance, and old age pensions). In the cultural and religious domain immigrants and ethnic minorities have limited possibilities to satisfy their ethnic, cultural and religious needs and recognition of identities related to these are often problematic. Such mechanisms of exclusion together have resulted both in the worst socio-economic circumstances of all of Europe's inhabitants and in ambiguity about, or even non-acceptance of the ethno-cultural and religious diversity that immigrants have brought to their societies of settlement.

To be sure, numerous policies, resources and recommendations have arisen at all levels of governance in all of the EU's member states which address these conditions. Yet all too often immigrant and ethnic minority groups have had little say in the public decisions, policies and resources which effect them. Therefore, such decisions, policies and resources often do not meet the needs, or are not sufficiently engaged or made use of, by immigrant and ethnic minority groups. Consequently, the dire socio-economic conditions and ethno-cultural ambiguities affecting them have not been successfully redressed.

The lack of immigrant and ethnic minority participation in policy-making is significantly conditioned by the fact that many do not have the legal status of citizenship. However, even in those states where some form of citizenship applies, other social and political factors prevent their full public participation. It is a situation, characterised by the political marginalization or total exclusion of these contributing residents, which challenges basic liberal democratic values, core institutional procedures, and even fundamental questions of morality. Together with the political concerns which have been directly voiced by immigrant and ethnic minority groups themselves (characterised by ever more effective forms of organization), it is a state of affairs which has recently stimulated much rethinking with regard to the concept of citizenship in its broadest sense and the idea of a civil society.

Not participating and not being fully accepted in the various societal domains prevents the full development of citizenship by immigrants and ethnic minorities. If citizenship is taken as full participation in the public domain and the exclusion from citizenship is seen as the exclusion from participation in this domain, the concept of citizenship is not only relevant in the political-juridical sphere, but also in the socio-economic and the cultural and religious sphere. That is, in all three societal domains the citizenship concept raises the issue of integration through participation.

It is surely time for a European-wide comparison - linking social scientists, municipal policy-makers and practitioners, and immigrant/ethnic minority groups - in order to evaluate the impact of presently used channels of mobilization and activation [1] in the domains mentioned above and design on the basis of such a study desirable future directions for stimulating participion of immigrants and ethnic minorities. This needs to be accomplished by direct comparison of policies and practices at the level of cities (taking into account the policies of differential regional and national regimes) as well as by way of comparison between national/city policy and recommendations at the European level.

    2.2 Project Aims and Objectives
In the research project 'Multicultural Policies and Modes of Citzenship in European Cities' [MPMC], social scientists from a variety of disciplines will undertake research and comparative analyses within selected urban contexts characterised by a substantial presence and activity of immigrant and ethnic minority groups. Working with policymakers and members of local organizations, their task is to assess the development and interplay of both 'bottom-up' (community led) initiatives and 'top-down' (municipality-created) policies aimed at better integrating immigrant and ethnic minorities in public decision-making processes. Of central concern to the project are what we shall term 'channels of activation and mobilization' in European cities: that is, organizations, actions or institutions through which immigrant and ethnic minority communities (are supposed to) make their interests and concerns known to municipal decision-makers and other significant actors in the various societal domains.

The project concerns ways in which immigrant and minority groups have gained access (or been confronted with obstacles) to decision-making processes and other ways of participating in the municipal public sphere. This includes the comparative examination of the evolution of local authority frameworks (consultative bodies, forums, ombudsmen), immigrant or ethnic minority associations, and the forms and experiences of liaison between these with regard to matters such as access to public funding, business and other forms of economic development, housing, health care delivery, cultural policy and specific elements urban regeneration. The analysis includes the dynamics of the local with other levels of administration, as far as relevant.

The studies will: [1] compile comprehensive material regarding social, economic, and political conditions affecting immigrant and ethnic minority groups (including their own patterns and processes of mobilization and expression of interests) in these cities; and [2] detail the evolution of a range of specific public policies (including regulations, institutions, structures) and their operation as these involve or affect immigrant and ethnic minority populations.

A rigorous comparison and evaluation of structures, processes, strategies and activities in both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' levels surrounding these channels of activation and mobilization in European cities will provide for (a) constructing and testing a theoretical typology of modes of citizenship or participation in European cities; and (b) disseminating to, and discussing with, policy-makers and community representatives a range of municipal experiences and 'best practice' policy recommendations regarding municipal policies and the involvement of immigrants and ethnic minorities. Considerable added value will be obtained by assessing comparatively the diverse policy experiences of the cities studied, as well as the policies recommendations at the European level (particularly the concise measures advanced by the Council of Europe). These areas and levels of comparison will be examined critically in MPMC seminars.

    3. A general framework for the comparative study.

In order to establish sound international comparative research the following minimum requirements have to be met:
    a. key-concepts to be used should be clear and operational, and used by all research teams;

    b. the central questions and their background should be clearly formulated and shared by all research teams;

    c. an initial inventory of the conditions of each of the case studies should be made in order to identify relevant local variables and facilitate relevant comparisons.

    3.1. Key-concepts and basic starting points

Firstly, it is proposed to start from a broad concept of citizenship as a central concept of the project. This concept, however, is used in many different meanings in the literature. It is applied at different levels of analysis in various disciplinary approaches, from philosophers/political theorists to law practioners and administrators.

Political theorists have contributed significantly to our thinking on citizenship of immigrants, multiculturalism and social exclusion in recent times (Bauböck 1994; Bauböck et al. 1996; Brubaker 1989 and 1992; Hammar 1990; Kymlicka 1995; Soysal 1994; Young 1990). They have developed theoretical models that are challenging and inspiring. Unavoidably in view of the issues concerned, however, the normative aspect in it is often quite strong.

To make the above mentioned theoretical contributions relevant for this empirical research project we have reformulated the broad theoretical concept of citizenship into a descriptive-analytical concept that can be used operationally. We propose that the concept of citizenship should be operationalized in three analytically distinct aspects that should be paid attention to in empirical data collection: the first is the juridical/political aspect which refers to the basic question whether and in how far immigrants and ethnic minorities do have differential formal rights and duties from natives in relation to formal political participation opportunities. It includes not only (access to) national citizenship and thus the formal political system, but also (non-)granting of political rights to non-nationals and the juridical status as aliens as far as this has consequences for political participation.

The second is the socio-economic aspect of citizenship, which pertains to social and economic rights of residents, irrespective of national citizenship; these include industrial rights and rights related to institutionalized facilities in the socio-economic sphere.

The third aspect pertains to the domain of cultural and religious rights of immigrants and minorities and their right to organize as ethnic groups. This implies that such rights should not be viewed a priori as rights of individuals, but also potentially as group rights.

The advantage of using these three analytically distinct aspects of citizenship as a descriptive device is twofold. By describing them separately first, and in doing so covering both the formal system of rights and the practice of these rights, it may become clear later how participation in one domain may influence participation in other domains and under what conditions. From empirical research until now, the extent and direction of such mutual influence is not clear [2].

The second advantage is that the material collected in this way can be used later for theoretical analysis while the empirical data collection is not hampered by too much theoretical assumptions.

Secondly, it is proposed to study the practice of citizenship and participation from two different perspectives. The first is the 'top-down-approach'. Here the institutional framework of the society of settlement is taken as a starting point and the question is raised in how far that institutional framework is open for participation by immigrants and ethnic minorities, or is opened and activated in the course of time. In this approach the concepts of inclusion/exclusion and 'opportunity structure' are key-concepts for the first part of that question. As far as measures are taken to stimulate participation, the second part of the question, activation seems to be the appropriate concept (as distinct from bottom-up mobilization).

The second is the 'bottom-up-approach'. Here the central focus is on the initiatives taken by immigrants, ethnic minorities and their organizations to stand up for their (political, social and cultural) interests irrespective of institutional structures, alone or in coalition with other actors. The basic concept here is mobilization. The analytical distinction top-down and bottom-up, and activation and mobilization makes it possible to study the interaction between the two processes systematically.

In the process of political activation and mobilization to be described many relevant actors may be involved, particularly since we do not limit participation to the formal political system. For example: trade unions may play an important role (positively or negatively) in the socio-economic domain, and established churches may do so in the religious domain. The research will have to take these actors into account, but will centrally focus on the role of local authorities.

Focussing on local situations and the role of immigrants and local authorities in such situations one can thus identify on the one hand channels of mobilization for immigrants and ethnic minorities for each of the domains mentioned above. In the cultural sphere one can think for example of mobilization through religious or cultural organizations of immigrants and their efforts to establish places of worship, religious courses or courses in imigrant languages, through parents' participation in the educational system of their children to introduce such elements in the school system, etc.

In the socio-economic domain immigrants may mobilize themselves also in many ways: as interest organizations defending or trying to gain social rights; by taking initiatives as enterpreneurs or self help groups.

In the political-juridical domain immigrants may mobilize themselves, depending on the opportunity structure, as pressure groups outside or within existing political parties, by establishing 'immigrant parties' or action groups, or to call for consultative bodies.

On the other hand one can identify the opportunity structure for such action, or the channels of activation. Throughout Europe -- especially at the level of cities -- a range of parallel institutions and policies have been created by way of the common objective of liaising with immigrants and ethnic minorities. These include consultative bodies such as [3]:

    (1) Contact and Co-ordination Groups (created for the inclusion of all majority and minority groups with a broad remit to improve relations);

    (2) Working and Co-ordination Groups (comprised mainly of government departments dealing with immigrants and ethnic minorities, with very few actual members of the latter groups; for the purpose of sharing information and coordinating programmes and activities);

    (3) Parliaments or Forums of Migrant Workers or Ethnic Minorities (made up of representatives of immigrant / ethnic minority groups only, in order to articulate their interests and press for the implementation of policies);

    (4) Advisory Councils (perhaps the most common type of institution, including representatives of both immigrant / ethnic minority groups and members of government, with broad scope for sharing information, expressing concerns, distributing resources, and lobbying for interests); and

    (5) Committees on Migrant or Ethnic Minority Affairs (established by government, with variable makeup but sometimes with decision-making powers).

Such activating participatory institutions and policies have been established or have developed very differentially in terms of structure, intent, and relation to regional and national policy; their degrees and evidence of success and failure have differed considerably as well [4].
    3.2. Central questions
The key-questions to be answered by all research teams follow from the above mentioned starting points. They can be summarized as follows:
    (1) How do local authorities activate immigrants and ethnic minorities to participate in political decision making in general, and in relation to their position in particular?

    - In how far can and do immigrants and ethnic minorities make use of existing general structures to participate?

    - Did local authorities develop special frameworks for immigrants and ethnic minorities (consultative bodies, forums, ombudsmen); what is the structure of such special frameworks and how do they function in practice?

    - What is the content of these participatory efforts in terms of the domains of citizenship: political/juridical, socio-economic, cultural/religious?

    (2) How do immigrants and ethnic minority mobilize to improve their position and to influence policies relating to that position?

    - What forms does this mobilization take? Are coalitions with other actors sought and found?

    - What is the content of these mobilization efforts in terms of the domains of citizenship: political/juridical, socio-economic, cultural/religious?

    (3) How do activation policies of authorities and mobilization of immigrants and ethnic minorities interact?

    - In how far is there congruence and overlap? In how far mismatch?

    - Which activation and mobilization efforts have worked out satisfactory for both parties and which have failed?

    3.3. The 'City template', a preliminary inventory.
The MPMC project involves comparative research on issues of 'local citizenship' concerning immigrant or ethnic minority groups in European cities. The cities, however, may differ greatly in many respects. They are not only embedded as cities in national units that differ in several respects; they supposedly have a special history and profile as well, as a local unit in the political, economic and cultural sense. Histories of immigration and composition of the immigrant population differ significantly, and consequently also policies relating to it. To ensure international comparative research the project will have to take stock of all such particularities at the very beginning of the project, as a preliminary research effort. To do so a 'city template'-questionaire was devised, including all relevant variables. The 'city template' was revised and elaborated in the Amsterdam workshop on the basis of first drafts of the research teams. The final city templates were completed in 1998 and will be made available on Internet. Furthermore, a selection of edited city templates will be gathered together and published in the course of 1999. The city templates will have a double function. For the research teams it will serve primarily as a starting point for the field research of the project. At the same time it provides policy makers with a first inventory of possibilities and experiences in the field.

3.4. Formation of 'clusters' It is envisaged that in a number of cases it is possible and worthwhile, within that general framework, to establish more specific comparisons between a limited number of cities on specific wel-defined research topics and questions. Research teams that join forces to do such specific comparisons are called 'clusters'.

Research within such a cluster is more restrictive in terms of (a) the specificity of the topic chosen, (b) the theoretical questions which are adressed, and (c) the research methodologies used. Forming a cluster within the general research design implies intensive co-operation between the member of that cluster to design the sub-project in detail before starting. It will also enable researchers to make use of the expertise available in the clustergroup. To facilitate work each cluster will nominate a cluster co-ordinator who is responsible for progress in the cluster. Additionally, cluster co-ordinators provide the (organizational) link between cluster and Coordination Committee (general framework).

The MPMC project will benefit from the establishment of clusters since the comparability of research in the participating cities (and thus in the general project) is improved.

At the Amsterdam seminar the following three clusters were presented:

    (1) Analysis of immigrant/ethnic minority organizational networks and their liaison with city officials; co-ordinators: dr. Meindert Fennema and dr. Jean Tillie of University of Amsterdam;

    (2) The role of immigrant and ethnic minority politicians (including the strategies of political parties to catch the 'ethnic vote'); co-ordinator: dr. Marco Martiniello of University of Liège.

    (3) Social relations in city neighbourhoods and the role of voluntary organisations in local, multi-ethnic community integration; contact person: dr. Andreas Wimmer.

In principle new clusters may be proposed in the course of the research project.

    4. Project Management

    Co-ordination Committee

    Dr. Marco Martiniello (University of Liége)

    Prof. dr. Rinus Penninx (IMES, University of Amsterdam)

    Dr. Steven Vertovec (Oxford University)

    Expert Consultants

    Prof. dr. John Rex

    Dr. Rainer Bauböck

    Dr. John Crowley

    UNESCO-MOST Programme

    Dr. Nadia Auriat

    Policy Collaborators

    Carla Collicelli, Fondazione Censis

    Dr. Mike Geddes, Local Government Centre

    Kathrin Merkle, Council of Europe

    Maria José dos Santos Freitas, ELAINE

    Dr. Werner Heinz, Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik

    WOHNBUND network for urban studies

    5. Time table and deliveries for the first two years

March 1999 Publication of City Templates on the UNESCO/MOST Website
May/June 1999 Finishing manuscript of the book based on the CT's
(Publication depends very much on the publisher.)
September 1st 1999 Draft reports of research based on the general framework (The Amsterdam team will decide on and establish a detailed framework for reporting already in the beginning of March 1999; a number of researchers have to write their contributions then between March and July 15th; a co-ordinated report has to be ready by September 1st 1999)
1-3 November 1999 Workshop of researchers in order to:
  • prepare a workshop with policy makers
  • prepare publications based on the research
  • development of the research programme
  • December 1999 Fourth Annual International Metropolis Conference
    March 2000 Workshop with policy makers and representatives of immigrant organisations.


    Bauböck, R.,
      Transnational Citizenship. Membership and Rights in International Migration. Avebury, Aldershot 1994.
    Bauböck, R., A. Heller and A.R Zolberg (eds),
      The Challenge of Diversity. Integration and Pluralism in Societies of Immigration. Avebury, Aldershot 1996.
    Brubaker, R.W. (ed.),
      Immigration and the Politics of Citizenship in Europe and North America. Lanham, University Press of America 1989.
    Brubaker, R.W.,
      Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany. Harvard University Press, Cambridge 1992.
    Hammar, T.
      Democracy and the Nation State. Aliens, Denizens and Citizens in an World of International Migration. Avebury, Aldershot 1990.
    Kymlicka, W.,
      Multicultural Citizenship: a Liberal Theory of Minority Rights. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1995.
    Soysal, Y.N.
      Limits of Citizenship. Migrants and Postnational Membership in Europe. Chicago University Press, Chicago 1994.
    Young, I.M.
      Justice and the Politics of Difference. Princeton University Press, Princeton 1990.


    1. As will be explained later it is proposed to make an analytical distinction between 'top-down' and 'bottom-up'-processes and coin the concepts of activation for the first and the term mobilization for the second.

    2. For example, for muslim immigrants in the U.K. having full national UK-citizenship does not guarantee religious rights, while alien immigrants in the Netherlands may have acquired such rights.

    3. See Anderson, U. (1990) 'Consultative institutions for migrant workers', in Political Rights of Migrant Workers in Western Europe, Z. Layton-Henry (Ed.). London: Sage, pp. 113-26

    4. These issues and the needs surrounding such participatory structures have been importantly highlighted by institutions on the European level as well. In cities throughout Europe, for instance, many of these kinds of participatory frameworks and policies have been structured in line with the recommendations made by the Standing Conference on Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) in its 1991 Frankfurt Declaration entitled 'Towards a New Municipal Policy for Multicultural Integration in Europe' and by the Council of Europe in its Final Report on 'Community and Ethnic Relations in Europe' (1991).

      Contact information

      UNESCO-MOST Programme
      Tel: +33 1 45 68 37 99
      Fax: +33 1 45 68 57 24
      E-mail: ssmost@unesco.org

      Prof. dr. Rinus Penninx
      Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES)
      Tel: +31 (0) 20-525 3627
      Fax: +31 (0) 20-525 3628
      E-mail: penninx@pscw.uva.nl


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