Immigration: Europe’s Normative Challenge


To absorb millions of immigrants into European societies requires a normative integration. This paper examines the dominant paradigms which characterize integrations, situating assimilation and unbounded pluralism at opposite ends of a continuum. Diversity Within Unity (DWU) is offered as a third approach. It calls for adherence to core values from all (the Unity realm), but beyond these shared values, diversity is fully accepted. The implications for religious practice, education, language, and communal loyalties are explored.

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  1. 1.

    Rogers Brubaker distinguishes between two different meanings of assimilation: one is general and abstract and refers to increasing similarity. The other is specific and organic and refers to absorption into a system and conversion. In the first sense, the focus of assimilation is a process, not a final state. In the second sense, assimilation is focused on an end state, and thus assimilation is either achieved or it is not; there are no degrees. See Brubaker (2001).

  2. 2.

    See the Diversity Within Unity platform which was originally drafted in 2001 with the help of 33 scholars and public intellectuals and has since been endorsed by many others, including government ministers (

  3. 3.

    For a fuller discussion of a communitarian concept of membership, see Etzioni (1996).

  4. 4.

    We use the term “national ethos” throughout this paper. The concept is perhaps similar to the “national identity” discussed by Smith or Huntington, but “ethos” better captures the image of a central essence which remains stable even as other elements around it are transformed. Smith (1991). Huntington (2004).

  5. 5.

    Yael Tamir, among others.

  6. 6.

    Rabbi Jonathan Romain is a frequent critic of such schools, arguing that having children of different religions learning in separate schools leads to “very poor social cement” (Face to faith, The Guardian, 25 April.

  7. 7.

    See Etzioni (2011).

  8. 8.

    McDonald notes that “Kymlicka does not adequately recognize or address the complex issues of institutional design which his arguments raise” (1996, p. 293).


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Etzioni, A. Immigration: Europe’s Normative Challenge. Int. Migration & Integration 20, 67–84 (2019).

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  • Assimilation
  • Integration
  • Diversity
  • Multiculturalism