Understanding the Dual Crisis

Carl-Ulrik Schierup

in Migration, Citizenship, and the European Welfare State

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198280521
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603730 | DOI:

Series: European Societies

Understanding the Dual Crisis

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This chapter introduces the book’s central questions, themes, and theoretical concepts, and elaborates on the moral-political premises of the study. It starts with a discussion of the contemporary dual crisis of the welfare state and the nation. This complex crisis presents the European Union with a dilemma centered on changing frameworks of citizenship, social exclusion, and the racialization of social relations. It has important historical similarities with the American dilemma of race, class, and democracy described by the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal. This emerging ‘European dilemma’ can no longer be dealt with through the defensive strategies through which European governments and EU institutions have endeavored to appease anti-immigrant populist parties in the past: by adopting restrictive immigration and asylum regimes, shifting from multiculturalism towards revamped assimilationist policies, or devising new ‘guest worker’ systems designed to keep the ‘problem’ away from the core institutions of society altogether. On the one hand, the very future of the European project of integration is dependent on the successful framing of new inclusive modes of citizenship and broad forms of social solidarity. On the other hand, taking this task seriously means confronting powerful political and economic interests. Thus, a central question of the book is whether current national and EU-level anti-discrimination and equal opportunities policies can succeed in the absence of some form of broad social compact on citizenship and social welfare in terms of normative political consensus, and strong institutions beyond and complementary to the market.

Keywords: national identity; welfare crisis; racialization; citizenship; European Union; European dilemma; Gunnar Myrdal

Chapter.  9651 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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