29 October 2007
Some European countries of immigration are currently experiencing a widespread ‘moral panic’ about immigrants and ethnic and religious diversity. This has led to a questioning of policies that recognize the maintenance of group difference and the formation of ethno-cultural and religious communities. Such approaches, which have variously been labelled ‘cultural’, ‘multicultural’, ‘diversity’ or ‘minority’ policies, share important common features concerning group recognition and group-based service provision. A backlash has occurred in policy and in public discourse, with migrants being blamed for not meeting their ‘responsibility to integrate’, hiding behind what are perceived to be ‘backward or illiberal cultural practices’. Such a culturalist approach is blamed for placing collective rights in place of individual rights.