top of page

MIGRATION POLITICS / Vol. 77, No. 1 (Spring 2010)

Victoria Hattam and Riva Kastoryano, Guest Editors
Arien Mack, Editor

This issue is an excellent array of papers bridging problems of migration in Europe and the United States. It also includes a fascinating round-table discussion in which a distinguished group of colleagues reflect more directly on Aristide Zolberg’s life and work, making clear the intricate links between scholarship on African decolonization and the civil rights movement in the United States.

There is a large literature indicating that governing demographically diverse populations challenges statecraft in ways not experienced in more homogenous nations for reasons of internal conflict. This article asserts that demographic diversity and social inequalities must be jointly examined, and uses the US as an example to explore the question: “How far should the liberal state go in remediation of inequality by providing group rights or group-targeted benefits?”

Despite their otherwise diverse economic, political, cultural, and religious goals and uses, one theme has been common to virtually all stories of immigration and American peoplehood: the notion of American as the most historically important and greatest nation in the world—a shining city on a hill that should serve as an example to all nations. This paper argues that America should now instead aim to see itself as a great metropolis on a global plain and recognize the contributions of immigrant populations.

The US immigration quota system of the early 20th century is usually represented as the result of a convergence of nativism, nationalism, and eugenics, which facilitated the growth of racism against immigrants. However, a detailed study of the origin of Quota laws suggests that this understanding is misguided.

The Other has been at the core of questions raised by the social sciences in general. The question of difference is complex, and the answers multiple, normative, and interpretive. Three primary approaches appear in the definition of Otherness: interactive, normative, and political. All three approaches show how explicitly or implicitly identity is perceived as “permanent difference”. This article explores the elaboration of differences through the use of concepts of categories and policies with regard to the Other in France, Germany, and the US.

This article examines the experience of race—and specifically the experience of racial discrimination—as it contributes to the making and unmaking of ethnic groups in the US. Discrimination, we will argue, has too often been discussed as if it is a singular experience. In an increasingly diverse America, a singular view of discrimination seems to us increasingly out of date. We will argue that while the experience of racial discrimination is common to many Americans, the nature and impact of that experience varies widely among the increasingly diverse people that are now often lumped together as “minorities” in the popular imagination.

In 2006, immigrant rights activists built on the earlier in-state tuition and driver’s license campaigns, but this time their actions caught the media attention in new ways as hundreds of thousands marched in large cities and small towns. We wanted to know more: What institutions and movements had propelled the immigrant rallies to national visibility? Who were the organizers? Was there evidence of the long anticipated Black-brown coalition between African Americans and new immigrants being forged? To answer these questions we conducted fieldwork in Boston in 2008 and 2009.

This article focuses on two contributions which flow from the ideas of Aristide Zolberg and Long Litt Woon’s “Why Islam Is Like Spanish”. The first is a tripartite scheme of boundary-related changes which constitutes a fundamental contribution to assimilation theory. The second flows from the focus on the boundary as the site of contestation between the majority and minority. In both cases, the revised understandings of the assimilation experience in the US also carry implications for the near future. In the closing section of the paper, I will argue that we are on the threshold of a period of unusual opportunity for large-scale assimilation. The ideas in “Why Islam Is Like Spanish” help us to understand how this assimilation might take place and what it might look like.

After describing the three European strategies focused on social control in the wake of terror, this essay will first demonstrate that the first two strategies try less to protect societies than to enforce efficient tools of governance. Additionally, they reinforce stereotypes harming Muslim immigrants. I show that diverse approaches in policing can make a difference in the communities where police forces operate. The third strategy, that of prevention requiring the cooperation of the citizens, may be more sustainable in the long term as it facilitates communication among local politicians and involved actors. Finally, I point out that the interplay of interests, ideas, and institutions matter a great deal to the comparison.

In this paper I will compare changes in immigrant integration policies in two European countries—France and Britain—with those of the US. I will focus first on the “national models” around which integration policies have been described, and then on the dynamics that are driving the changes and evolution of these models. I argue that national models in each country differentiate the direction, the content, and the intensity of integration policy. These differences are most evident, moreover, if we examine not only the policies themselves, but the perceived success and failure of different integration policies. I argue that three dynamics have been driving the evolving management of integration policy: problems of urban order, the development of the European Union, and perceptions of failure and success.

The question of interest in this paper is whether the Mexican government’s programs are actually contributing to the integration of immigrants in the US and what the implications are in terms of how Mexico defines its objectives in providing services and support for migrants in the US, how these programs are perceived in the US, and how they may influence debates about migration management between Mexico and the US or even within the North American Free Trade Agreement in the coming years. From a theoretical perspective, this is part of a broader debate in the literature on transnationalism and integration about whether continuing ties between migrants and their home country slow down or promote their integration in the host society.

Prima facie evidence suggests that there is a genuine puzzle here: Why has much of Europe turned out differently than other places with respect to its religiosity—or, more directly, its secularity? And what might this tell us about religiousness and secularization in the modern world more generally? This essay seeks to explore the meaning of secularization and its applicability to the American and European worlds, and thus to develop an assessment of the usefulness of the secularization thesis.

The following analysis first traces the many meanings of the term diversity, which explain part of its appeal. Second, the analysis deals with the main challenge ahead: to connect cultural diversity to boundary making and the production of social inequality via social mechanisms. Third, the discussion enters an emerging field of study, transnationality, as a characteristic of diversity. The account concludes with a focus on political contestation and the role of social scientists’ own distinctions around diversity and social inequalities.

An emerging research agenda exists around the ethics of migration. In this context, I would like to propose a research framework within a theory of state behavior in international migration. My objective here is to discuss the first phase of the broader research: justifying the need to establish an evaluative ethical framework for analyzing state practices in relation to migration policies. IN the second place, I will apply the framework to specific political practices, such as bilateral agreements between receiving and sending countries, family reunification policies, return policies, or state visa policies.

In this article, we examine a case that stands at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. In the last decades of the twentieth century, the Federal Republic of Germany embarked on a battle over national identity and naturalization policy. We take issue with the statist position while also providing a much-needed corrective to the postnationalist account. We argue that the power of human rights norms should not be measured in terms of their ability to coerce states into action, but rather as a political resource. We aim to offer a fuller account of recent German citizenship politics that illuminates the role of transnational influences on policy making in liberal democracies.


The following are short essays on author’s reflections and anecdotes with the great scholar Aristide Zolberg.

Ann Snitow

David Apter

Courtney Jung

Ira Katznelson

Aristide Zolberg


bottom of page