‘The People’s Rules: 'Attitudes to citizenship requirements among young adult minorities and ethnic majorities in Scandinavia – A liberal integrationist Consensus’

19 November 2020, 5.00 PM - 19 November 2020, 6.30 PM

Per Mouritsen

Very little research exists on attitudes to naturalization requirements. A sociological conception of citizenship associates citizenship with boundaries, predicated on contribution and civic capacity. This external meaning competes with an internal one of equal treatment. Using data from a unique Scandinavian survey of young adult majority and minority individuals’ intuitions about citizenship requirements, this article finds remarkable clustering around a middle-of-the-road, civic integrationist view, and less support for either very restrictive boundary-closure or cosmopolitan openness. Differences between the three welfare states, whose immigrant policy and discourse contrast sharply, are small, and the pattern pertains to majorities and minorities alike, despite the latter’s closer experience with legal precarity. Although this consensus varies predictably with political orientation and, in the case of majorities, educational background, it is relatively unassociated with ethno-cultural nationhood or hostility towards immigration. It arguably reflects deep structures of modern welfare state solidarity, with which current Danish and Swedish citizenship policy is somewhat out of touch – in different directions – with Norway closer to “the people’s rules.”

Per Mouritsen is an associate professor of Political Science at Aarhus University. He works on citizenship and naturalisation, nationalism and national identity, citizenship education, and policies of civic integration, all particularly in a North European and Scandinavian context. He currently directs two major projects: (1) When do Children of Immigrants Thrive? (The Rockwool Foundation 2016-21), which compares Danish and Swedish school integration, including the effects of school context on descendants’ civic and educational outcomes. This project also includes an element on Muslim free schools in Denmark; and (2) Outside Citizenship: The Making and Integration of Immigrants (The Independent Danish Research Foundation, 2019-24) which received the Foundation’s 2019 award for most original idea across all sciences. Mouritsen is currently (with C. Fernandez) writing a book for Edinburgh University Press, which compares Denmark’s and Sweden’s immigrant integration trajectories. The ‘The People’s Rules’ presentation reports some findings from the recently concluded inter-Scandinavian GovCit project (PRIO, headed by Marta Erdal) where Mouritsen was Danish national PI.


A recording of the webinar can be viewed on the Centre's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSLwe3SIHEY

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