Integration ends with ghetto: En diskursteoretisk, magtorienteret undersøgelse af indvandreres handlerum for ”selv-integration” i Danmark

Matias Find & Søren Staberg Madsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the development of the notion of integration in Denmark from the 1970’s to 2018. In specific, we investigate how modern ideas about self-governance challenge the immigrants’ space of action for ‘self-integration’. The focal point of the thesis is the work of Ernesto Laclau’s discourse theory and Michel Foucault’s work concerning rationality, governance, and power.The project has outlined the integration policy in a historical and discursive perspective and through the study of modern governing techniques within the field of integration in Denmark.Our thesis shows a discursive exclusion of immigrants through social constructions of their inability and unwillingness to adapt to the demands of political authorities. The historical conceptions of immigrants support this perception by constructing them as powerless and marginalized individuals in the context of society’s goals and desires. Furthermore, our thesis shows that the integration discourse in 2018, as part of social policy development and neoliberal movements of governance, places a much greater emphasis on assigning the immigrant the responsibility of his own integration.The possibility of making immigrants powerful, self-responsible, and motivated citizens presents itself through a separating notion of anti-social communities that divide the population into risky and non-risky groups, ghettos being the former.The discourse creates ghettos as an empty category that loses its particularity and takes upon a universal meaning in defining who immigrants are on the basis of articulations of deviant behaviour and stereotypes that justify the governing techniques.Finally, our thesis concludes that Danish governance of immigrants comprehends both a disciplinary, pastoral, and security rationalization of self-governance resulting in the position for immigrants to act upon themselves guided by the expertise of political authorities. Therefore, we suggest that immigrants' space of action for self-integration is linked to their ability to confess to their constructed deviant behavior, paradoxically ‘trapping’ themselves in the deviant position and hence not able to achieve an accepted position in a society that praises normality and active citizenship.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages90
SupervisorsKaspar Villadsen