Do National Integration Discourses Affect Muslims’ Political and Civic Incorporation? a Comparison of France, Canada, and Québec

Friday, 20 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Emily LAXER, University of Michigan, USA
Jeffrey REITZ, University of Toronto, Canada
This article seeks to determine whether and how national integration ‘models’ affect immigrants’ – particularly Muslims’ – political and civic incorporation, focusing on three dimensions: acquiring citizenship, participating in associations and voting. The study compares outcomes in three settings: France, where republican values orient integration discourses and policies; Canada, where immigrant integration has for decades been conceived as part of a multicultural citizenship project; and – within Canada – Québec, where an intercultural approach echoing aspects of republicanism and multiculturalism has recently emerged. Based on analysis of two national surveys – the Trajectories and Origins Survey (2008) in France and the Ethnic Diversity Survey (2002) in Canada – we find that national integration discourses have limited capacity to explain political and civic incorporation among Muslims and other minorities. Though dissimilar across settings, these populations' patterns in citizenship acquisition are readily explained by their divergent histories of migration. Meanwhile, Muslim-non-Muslim differences in association membership and voting are strikingly similar in France, Québec, and the rest of Canada. We conclude that national discourses of integration in some ways obscure, rather than illuminate, on-the-ground patterns in minorities’ political and civic incorporation.