Likhetens rum - olikhetens praktik om produktion av integration i fyra svenska kommuner
Sammanfattning: What is integration? How is integration achieved and to whom is it directed? And how is integration implemented in respect to immigrant women? This thesis examines ideas concerning integration and the policy and practice of integration on the basis of a set of policies which include Swedish society as “multicultural”, with the focus on immigrant women. Integration as a political project exists at a national level in Sweden but also in most of Sweden’s municipalities. This study concentrates mainly on the local level. Four medium-sized Swedish municipalities with differing conditions, political governance, geographical location and immigration history have been selected for a study of how integration is implemented and how ideas about integration also produce and reproduce both local and national space.Various political documents on integration and interviews with politicians, officials and immigrant women form the basis of a study of how integration is achieved as seen from the positions of different actors at the municipal level and how similarities and differences are constructed and expressed in the example of integration. Conceptions regarding similarities and differences on the basis of gender and ethnicity in an imagined Swedish space, but also in more local spaces, have been central to an understanding of the phenomena studied in the thesis, given that at the core of a policy of integration lie differences that need to be integrated.The theoretical points of departure in the thesis are the ideas of Henri Lefebvre regarding the production of space, which are combined with theories inspired by gender theory and phenomenology to illustrate the individual and physical aspects of the process. A model of the complexity of creating spatiality is devised from this theoretical basis and is used throughout the thesis both as an analytical tool and as an instrument for creating structure.On the basis of the study it is concluded that integration may be likened to a space of similarity, as integration is construed by means of different metaphors as a move from something “outside” to Sweden, as a room to be entered. The policy and practice of integration, as it has so far functioned, is shown to be based on a (dis)similarity paradox in that integration is constructed on a discourse of similarity at the same time as assumptions and constructions of difference are a fundamental point of departure for the policy objectives.
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