Challenges of ethnic diversity: results from a qualitative study

Christoph Burkhardt and Steffen Mau

in Converging Worlds of Welfare?

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584499
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728792 | DOI:

Series: Creating Sustainable Growth In Europe

Challenges of ethnic diversity: results from a qualitative study

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In recent decades, European welfare states faced increasing migration resulting in more diverse populations. In contrast to former times, when the access to welfare benefits was closely tied to citizenship, western welfare states have become more inclusive by making welfare eligibility increasingly a matter of residency. The chapter asks how this process is discussed and evaluated by the public, building on an analysis of focus group interviews. By taking a comparative perspective, it also investigates whether one finds significant differences between views of German and British focus group participants. Although German respondents were slightly more positive in their evaluation of immigration, there are also similarities between respondents from both countries. For example, German and British respondents welcome productive contributions by migrants to maintain the sustainability of the welfare state. On the other hand, ethnic segregation and disproportionate dependency on welfare by immigrants were highlighted as negative side-effects. Overall, it is argued that while the unconditional inclusion of immigrants into the welfare state is met with reservation, people tend to agree with the politics of inclusion if they feel that immigrants are contributing to society, in particular through labour market participation.

Keywords: ethnic diversity; public social attitudes; migration; inclusion; welfare state; qualitative data; focus groups

Chapter.  8816 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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