Political Studies

Cover image for Vol. 62 Issue S1

Edited By: Cees van der Eijk, Vivien Lowndes, Christopher Pierson and Mark Wenman

Impact Factor: 0.917

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2012: 54/157 (Political Science)

Online ISSN: 1467-9248

Associated Title(s): The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, Political Insight, Political Studies Review, Politics

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Muslim Integration into Western Cultures

The question of the attitudes of Muslims, especially Muslim immigrants, to the values and practices of the Western societies in which they are living has been a source of interest and sometimes controversy, especially over the last decade. The wealth of discussion that there has been has not always been well informed. A recent paper in Political Studies by distinguished North American political scientists Pippa Norris and Ronald F.Inglehart brings some much-needed hard evidence to the debate. Drawing upon evidence collected in the World Values Survey and the European Values Study between 1981 and 2007, Norris and Inglehart set out to trace the pattern of Muslim attitudes as individuals migrate to the societies of the West. The pattern their survey reveals is complex but consistent. Incomers do not generally form enclaves of ‘unreformed’ opinion, cut off form the mainstream of their new host societies and closer to the attitudes of those living in their countries of origin. Nor do Muslim incomers simply assimilate to the ways of thought that they find in their new homes. Rather, the pattern is one in which Muslim migrants occupy a middling position between the attitudes of their states of origin and destination. Norris and Inglehart find a very widespread endorsement of democratic values. The areas in which the views of Muslim migrants deviate most from those of their new host societies are in relation to sexuality and women’s equality. Overall, their conclusion is upbeat. We should not believe that Muslims and others in the West are trapped in a clash of civilisational values. Dialogue and movement are possible – in both directions. What in its turn makes this possible is a general sense of existential security. Pluralism flourishes where people are less scared of each other.

**** About the authors:
Pippa Norris is the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has written a series of influential books on democratic governance for Cambridge University Press including, most recently, Making Democratic Governance Work (CUP, 2012) Ronald F. Inglehart is Professor of Political Science at the Institute for Social Research of the University of Michigan, one of the world’s leading authorities on political opinion formation and author of the classic text The Silent Revolution (1977).

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