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Crises Now and Then—Comparing Integration Policy Frameworks and Immigrant Target Groups in Denmark in the 1970s and 2000s


This article investigates the impact of economic crises in the early 1970s and 2000s on integration policy frames in Denmark. By the means of a comparative case study of “guest workers” in the 1960s/1970s and labor migrants in 2000s, we identify changes in discourses and policy frames brought on by economic crisis. In the article, we explore policy transformations relating to integration in the light of periods economic upturns and downturns. We analyze and compare the development of policy frames and policy content before, during and after the crises and thereby seek to answer how economic contours affect not only policy-making processes and content but also the social construction of target groups. The fact that Denmark did not have an official policy on integration of the guest workers in the 1960s and 1970s created a different point of departure than in the 2000s where the experience with and policy on integration of immigrant is much more developed. It is therefore also rather striking that many of the mistakes made during the 1960s and 1970s seems to be repeated in the 2000s. The situation of economic upturn and envision of the migration being temporary did, in both cases, lead to little emphasis on integration up until the point of crisis. In the analysis, we find that issues such as religious background, cultural characteristics, and educational levels, position on labor market, language proficiency, housing, and mobility which all pertain to integration are given less attention in times of economic upturn.

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Correspondence to Martin Bak Jørgensen.

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Jørgensen, M.B., Thomsen, T.L. Crises Now and Then—Comparing Integration Policy Frameworks and Immigrant Target Groups in Denmark in the 1970s and 2000s. Int. Migration & Integration 14, 245–262 (2013).

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  • Integration
  • Policy frames
  • Economic crises
  • Labor migration
  • Policy-making