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European Cultural Policy and Migration: Why Should Cultural Policy in the European Union Address the Impact of Migration on Identity and Social Integration?



This study attempts to examine why European Union cultural policy does not address the issue of migration of people from non-European countries to Europe with sufficient recognition of the major impact it has on European cultural identity, and what are some of the advantages of doing so. It is important to note that a strong cultural policy common to all members of the European Union does not exist and may be said not to be in the interest of European nation states. Nevertheless, the impact of European Union cultural policy on various aspects of cultural and social life in Europe is growing and is therefore assessed both in terms of its official description as stated by Article 151 of the Treaty of European Union and with regard to the variety of programmes it establishes.

The remit and implementation of cultural policy are found to be constricted by various supranational and national issues, and their relation to the impact of migration, while in existence, is limited. Cultural initiatives already being run within the framework of European Union cultural policy and which address issues related to migrant cultures and European citizenry are assessed. This analysis leads to suggestions and recommendations, the aim of which is to foster a greater recognition of the importance of the value of cultural difference due to the influence of migration on European social settings, and to encourage the formulation of European cultural policies that aim at more reciprocity and mutuality. This paper joins a growing number of calls for a change in the perspective of policy-making to reflect the transnational reality of migration and its impact on and contribution to culture in Europe. It does this while at the same time acknowledging the fact that nation states play a largely determining role in the ideation and implementation of European Union cultural policy.

This research is based on a theoretical framework that provides the discussion with a foundation from which to assess contemporary models of multiculturalism and integration as well as grapple with the implications of cultural policy on European self-identification and representation. This analysis roots its critical perspective in a close reading of Ziauddin Sardar’s propositions of “mutually assured diversity” and “transmodernism” which are applied to the context of cultural policy.

This paper is based on research carried out through the collection of secondary data, with resources that provide information which is recent and relevant to current issues of migration, social integration and European culture and identity.