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Springboard, not roadblock: Discourse analysis of Facebook groups suggests that ethnic neighbourhoods in European cities might jump-start immigrants’ integration

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jats:pThe age of migration finds its physical manifestation in the immigrant neighbourhoods of European cities. These ‘ethnic enclaves’ have received much attention from the public, as well as policy makers. Conventional wisdom holds that policies are required to confront such concentrations. Several European countries have implemented measures to achieve a spatial balance – be it through settlement bans or allocation quotas – in the name of fostering immigrants’ integration.</jats:p>jats:pHowever, the scholarly verdict on the relationship between segregation and integration is still pending. This article aims to contribute a novel approach, namely discourse analysis of immigrants’ Facebook groups. To this end, it first establishes the level of segregation in six cities (three in Germany and three in England) using data held by municipal archives. Second, it scrutinises 119 Facebook groups of Pakistanis and Turks in these cities, with a total of 2665 posts. This exploratory analysis suggests that desegregation might be causative for downwards assimilation and transnationalism, whereas ethnic enclaves might provide the basis for a pluralist mode of integration. Therefore, it argues for a re-evaluation of the suitability of dispersal policies for shaping the transformation of ever more European cities into multi-ethnic metropolises.</jats:p>



44 Human Society, 4406 Human Geography, 4403 Demography

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European Urban and Regional Studies

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SAGE Publications