Part of the problem or of the solution? The involvement of religious associations in immigrant integration policy

Astrid Mattes

Abstract

Across Europe we see faith-based organizations (FBOs) getting involved in the policy field of immigrant integration. The interweaving of the policy fields of religion politics and immigrant integration is particularly delicate in systems of religionstate cooperation. Here, FBOs and state actors build on each other to fulfil certain tasks. This paper explores how FBOs are involved in the field of immigrant integration and which techniques of government are being used. Drawing on empirical case studies from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the paper shows that religious communities fulfil multiple roles as civil society actors, as religious representatives or as migrant associations. While similarities occur due to comparable structures and institutions, observed differences are the consequence of different constellations of suspicion and trust between FBOs and state actors.

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