The purpose of this paper is to discuss and theorise the links and possible dilemmas posed by the politics of redistribution and the politics of recognition taking the case of Denmark as the point of departure.
The empirical observations in this paper consist of the political and discursive climate around legislation on ethnic minority matters, information from the Danish Statistical Bureau, the “Danish Level of Living Survey”, and the experiences from Danish urban districts which have a high concentration of immigrants.
Since the 1990s, the political discourse has changed with the emergence of right‐wing, anti‐immigration populism seriously affecting immigrants’ and refugees’ legal rights and their possibilities for socio‐cultural and socio‐economic inclusion. On the one hand, these changes have been driven by a strong “work first” discourse which has led to a reduction of the duration and level of social benefits, and increased poverty. On the other hand, other policy changes have been more inclusive examples being education policy, active labour market policy measures and innovative empowerment programmes in deprived urban districts.
Social innovation – here defined as the ability to organise bottom linked collective action/empowerment (including efficient political representation) – is a condition for reaching sustainable democratic and social development. But without more far‐reaching changes in the socio‐cultural and socio‐economic opportunity structures based on universal welfare principles and which also clearly address structural ethnic discrimination in all spheres of the social fabric, local empowerment and recognition strategies are likely to fail.
The paper addresses a crucial issue in the Danish and other European societies in relation to the exclusion and marginalisation of immigrants. The value of the paper is that it integrates different theoretical approaches to inclusion and exclusion of immigrants and employs different empirical material (quantitative and qualitative) to both underpin, discuss and challenge these theoretical approaches.
Andersen, J., Elm Larsen, J. and Hornemann Møller, I. (2009), "The exclusion and marginalisation of immigrants in the Danish welfare society: Dilemmas and challenges", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 29 No. 5/6, pp. 274-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330910965804Download as .RIS
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