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Decolonising the notions of integration

Published on 05/02/2021

EPIC asked 700 inhabitants from 11 cities from different backgrounds what they understood by integration

Integration – if we accept its need – is shaped by individual agency, however, the responsibility for it doesn’t fall on individuals alone –integration is shaped very much by outside forces such as policy and media.

Integration must be reframed as forms and practices of urban encounter, as ‘relational’ practices, extremely subjective and non-normative, process-based and emplaced.

Through the first EPIC research report, we attempted to go back once more to the notion of integration, question its foundations, to rethink hospitality and citizenship. The way we did it was primarily through the design of the research methods and a deep reflection on positionality and the relationship between researcher and researched subject. First, we tried to move away from pre-set migranticised categories to let participants define themselves without bias in the surveys and interviews.

Secondly, the research was very much shaped by the idea that integration is a form of transformative relation, between people, places and institutions. It is driven by individual choices and collective constraints. It is the way we all build an urban basis for ourselves.

So the attempt was to decolonise the notion of integration by unlinking it from structures of power and privilege, policy and disciplinary language and categories.


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