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About this book

This innovative and thought-provoking study puts forth a compelling analysis of the constitutive nexus at the heart of the European refugee conundrum. It maps and historically contextualises some of the distinctive challenges that pervasive ethnic and cultural pluralism present to real politics as on the level of political theorizing. By systematically integrating hitherto insufficiently linked research perspectives in a novel way, it lays open a number of paradoxical constellations and regressive tendencies in contemporary European democracy. It thereby redirects attention to the ways in which liberal thought and liberal democratic institutions shape, interact with, and may even provide justification for illiberal and exclusionary practices. This book thus makes an important contribution to the analysis of post-migrant realities in Europe and the ways in which they are defined by imperial legacies, punitive migration regimes, the culturalization of mainstream politics, and the discursive construction of a European Other.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The introduction presents the book’s rational, principal objectives, main theses, line of argument, and methodological approach. It briefly introduces each of the four interrelated, systematic chapters of the book, shows how problems areas and discourses discussed are interconnected and why they find a common focal point in the issue of immigration and the transnationalization of marginalization, not only in terms of creating an outside but also an Other of democratic politics in Europe.
Christoph M. Michael

Chapter 2. The Dialectics of European Integration

Abstract
This chapter focuses on European identity politics, both in an administrative-institutional sense (EU, nation-state, regional autonomy, ethno-national minority parties) as well as in terms of a vehicle of public dissent and a tool of grassroots mobilization. It shows how a specific type of identity construction based on normative discourses of Enlightenment values, liberal democracy and human rights has turned into a legitimating narrative of European integration and enlargement. Despite the rejection of nation-centric politics and the commitment to a Europe of unity in diversity, this form of post-national universalism not only brackets and seeks to homogenize what is essentially and increasingly so a Europe of plural and contentious voices, but also construes newly objectified and essentialist forms of European societal and political cleavages.
Christoph M. Michael

Chapter 3. Citizenship in a Post-migrant Europe: Socio-Political Cohesion at Breaking Point?

Abstract
This chapter suggests that political and administrative elites driving European integration may have underestimated—especially so in the post-Cold War era—the resilience and mobilizing force of the national(ist) idiom. Post-national and cosmopolitan paradigms of democratic politics—despite the de-territorialization of sovereignty—were clearly outpaced by national identity politics and popular opposition to immigration. The discussion further shows how debates on asylum and immigration impacted on debates of social cohesion and the integrative functions of citizenship. This does concern, above all, the question of whether there are any real prospects for European citizenship beyond a thin reality of legal nominalism. How this question is answered will not only have direct implications on EU political and social cohesion but on the sustainability of the European project as such.
Christoph M. Michael

Chapter 4. Changing Logics of Migration: Immigrant Threat to National Sovereignty?

Abstract
This chapter discusses the changing logics of migration and the varying and unequal politicization of different waves of immigration in postwar Western Europe. It argues that it is national institutional contexts, historical narratives, and self-conceptions that condition approaches to immigration but also that the ability to regulate immigration is perhaps the most important symbolic marker of sovereignty. The tightening of immigration policies as much as the new toughness, increasing criminalization and externalization of asylum is shown to function as a powerful—perhaps even indispensable—tool for the reassertion of national sovereignty and the reproduction of territorial notions of the state vis-à-vis globalization. The chapter, therefore, presents an altered, if not new, perspective on migration politics in Western Europe but also theoretically reflects on important conceptual issues that emerge from the political dislocations the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015/2016 effected.
Christoph M. Michael

Chapter 5. The Integration Paradox: Culturalizing Belonging at the End of the “Multiculturalist Era”

Abstract
This chapter expands on previous arguments by analyzing discourses on the alleged failure of multiculturalism in Europe and the increasing culturalization of mainstream politics. It argues that this not only presents an integration paradox but, in a much more fundamental sense, also entails a redefinition of the basis of European liberal democracy. In a sustained theoretical reflection, the chapter argues against conceptions of liberalism that aim to invisibilize problems of cultural accommodation within a sanitized discourse of individual rights. Its core purpose thus concerns—on a theoretical level—a way of turning the experiences of pervasive pluralism and large-scale immigration into emancipatory sources of liberal democracy rather than into driving forces of its erosion.
Christoph M. Michael

Chapter 6. Synthesis: Grand Visions, Fractured Realities

Abstract
The concluding pages in this chapter aim to synthesize the materials and draw out a number of implications for both the analysis and a more realist theorizing of democracy in Europe. The prominent, contemporary figure in which nearly all of the paradoxical constellations examined throughout individual chapters converge is, it is argued, not the Islamist terrorist but the refugee seeking protection. Whereas postcolonial migration could still be territorially contained, depoliticized, and remained largely invisible within national identity constructions and historical master narratives, the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015/2016 did no longer allow for any of those options. What European nation-states so vehemently reject—with possibly dire consequences for the future of liberal democracy itself—is their own lesson in alterity.
Christoph M. Michael

Backmatter

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