Going with the Flow? International Comparisons

  • Paul Thomas
Part of the Palgrave Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series book series ( CAL)


Chapter 1 outlined the violent disturbances in northern England during the summer of 2001, and the significant change in the tone, priorities and focus of British race relations policies as a result. It went on to outline the key themes and concerns of this new British policy of community cohesion, all of which are highly contested and controversial, as Chapter 3 examines. Before engaging in detailed discussion of those critiques, it is helpful to step back and reflect on how this policy shift might be understood in relation to the approaches and debates in other Western European countries that are also grappling with the challenges of rapidly evolving multicultural and multi- faith societies. Accordingly, this chapter examines the position in two contrasting, close neighbours of Britain, the Netherlands and France. These countries have been chosen both because of the distinct ways in which their respective policy approaches to ethnic diversity and identity have traditionally been understood, and because issues of multiculturalism and national values and loyalties have been prominent in their recent political discourses. The aim here is a modest one; not to offer new data on these countries but rather, in considering their differing policy approaches and conflicts, to shed further light on how we might understand the post-2001 British policy approach of community cohesion and examine the extent to which this policy shift is, or is not, out of line with trends in other European states.


Ethnic Minority Western European Country Policy Approach Dutch Society Community Cohesion 
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Copyright information

© Paul Thomas 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HuddersfieldUK

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