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Immigrant Nations

Paul Scheffer

ISBN: 978-0-745-64961-0 June 2011 Polity 300 Pages


This book is a major reassessment of how immigration is changing our world. The policies of multiculturalism that were implemented in the wake of post-war immigration have, especially since 9/11, come under intense scrutiny, and the continuing flow of populations has helped to ensure that immigration remains the focus of intense social and political debate.

Based on his deep knowledge of the European and American experience, Scheffer shows how immigration entails the loss of familiar worlds, both for immigrants and for host societies. The conflict that accompanies all major migratory movements is not the result of a failure of integration, but is part of a search for new ways of living together. It prompts an intensive process of self-examination on all sides.

Immigration has such a profound impact because it goes to the heart of institutions like the welfare state and liberties like the freedom of expression; liberal democracies developing into immigrant nations go through an existential change. To cope with these challenges, Scheffer argues, we should move beyond multiculturalism and take a fresh look at the meaning of citizenship in a globalizing world.

This principled and path-breaking book will establish itself as a classic work on immigration and will be an indispensable text for anyone interested in one of the most important social and political issues of our time.

Chapter I: A suitcase in the hall
Tolerance under strain - The conservatism of migrants - The in-between generation - Native unease - Integration requires self-examination - So what's new?
Chapter II: The world in the city 000
The proximity of strangers - Segregation and inequality - Ghetto culture - Black and white schools - Dispersing without mixing - Back to the garden city
Chapter III: The great migration
The globe is fragile - All the colours plus grey - Classic countries of immigration - Migration and development - A morality of mobility - The citizens' revolt
Chapter IV: The Netherlands, a culture of avoidance
As others see us - Migration and nation building - Tolerance is not laisser-faire - Organizing Islam - Post-colonial lessons - Identity and openness
Chapter V: European contrasts
From emigration to immigration - Early opposition - Republican answers - Foreigners after genocide - Taking leave of empire - At the external borders
Chapter VI: The cosmopolitan code
The colonial trap - ‘Enlightened' racism - The value of cultures - Beyond multiculturalism - Prejudice weighed - World citizens in the making
Chapter VII: The rediscovery of America
The colonists' creed - In the melting pot - Opposition to immigrants - The golden door shuts - The lingering shadow of slavery - Affirmative action
Chapter VIII: The divided house of Islam
Islam and imperialism - In a secular environment - Conservatism and radicalization - Reformist voices - Believers in an open society - A world without an emergency exit
Chapter IX: Land of arrival
Rituals of citizenship - Everything of value must defend itself - A triptych of integration - Dilemmas of equal treatment - Tomorrow's immigrants - Accepting what we have become
'An important, ambitious book ... As the revolt against mass immigration and multiculturalism shows no signs of weakening in Europe, it is timely to have a rational and liberal defence of the new scepticism that ranges with such confidence across so many countries - and is a damn good read too.'
Financial Times

'With Immigrant Nations, Scheffer offers an extension of his earlier arguments and an answer to his critics ... essential reading for anyone with an interest in the issue.'
Times Higher Education

'Arguably the best study in many years of the effects that mass immigration has had on the countries and cities of western Europe and north America.'
European Voice

'Should be required reading for those engaged with this important issue.'
Foreign Affairs

'With major cities as focal points, Scheffer argues for a revision of both how we look at our legislative and cultural relationship with immigration by way of revisiting historical precedents as well as considering the profoundly different (more densely populated and globalized) world in which we live today.'
Pop Matters

'The breadth of this study is formidable. Exploring as it does the history of voluntary or forced emigration and immigration, slavery and the US and the problems of assimilation, it covers a number of controversial bases in a non-sensationalist way. The recurring subject of large and diverse Muslim communities in European cities is the most significant theme of this book and it's an issue which is tackled with courage and honesty.'
Morning Star

'Scheffer tackles the problems resulting from immigration into Europe with a candid critique of antiforeign sentiments and the feelings of immigrant populations as well ... Highly recommended.'

'An honest and vivid exploration of the many issues that contemporary immigration presents for European societies ... proof that the immigration debate can and should be moved beyond its current impasse.'
Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

‘Paul Scheffer has written the most acute, sensitive and nuanced account there is of Europe's new immigrants. This book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand today's Europe.'
Timothy Garton Ash, St Antony's College, Oxford

‘Paul Scheffer handles a combustible subject with uncommon restraint. His tone is sharp yet compassionate; his scope is broad yet detailed; he is an insider yet unobtrusive. In a subtle way he reveals the layers of painful contradictions that plague a people who for decades cultivated a self-image of tolerance and freedom, only to be cast into self-doubt as that image is tested by the arrival and settlement of Muslim immigrants.'
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, American Enterprise Institute

‘A vital contribution to the current discussions in Europe on the problems of immigration. Scheffer's voice is urgent, timely and penetrating. This book should be read by all Europeans, and indeed by all people, who are interested in one of the most pressing issues of our time: how to integrate non-Western immigrants, especially immigrants with Muslim backgrounds, into Western societies.'
Ian Buruma, Bard College

• This book is a path-breaking reflection of the challenges posed to Western societies by the large-scale migration of the postwar period.

• The book draws on the very important experience of The Netherlands, which (along with Britain) was a pioneer of multiculturalism and has recently experienced a backlash to it, but the book is genuinely comparative and it situates the Dutch experience in relation to immigration in Britain, the US and other countries.

• Scheffer argues that we now need a new approach to immigration that is based on the ‘principle of reciprocity': native populations cannot ask of newcomers any more than they are prepared to ask of themselves.

• This book has been hugely successful in The Netherlands, Germany and elsewhere and there is every reason to believe that it will become one of the classic books on immigration and the social and political responses to it.