Integration (chr.)

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(Turk. Entegrasyon)

a) General

Integration is a concept that derives from classical sociology (Emile Durkheim [1858–1917], Herbert Spencer [1820–1903]) and describes a social transformation in a society that leads to a concerted coalescence of heterogeneous groups to create a social whole. In terms of its literal sense, integration relates to the restoration of a social whole and a shared community of values, particularly where political and social change call for the involvement, in public life, of new groups or orientations within society. Accordingly, integration has emerged as the central concept in the debate surrounding migration and immigration in Europe. It is distinguished, on the one hand, from assimilation of the form expected in the classical countries with open immigration policies; this involves the surrender, by immigrants, of particularities, in tandem with complete assumption of the orientations of the receiving country. On the other hand, integration stands in opposition to its antonym, disintegration. It leads not only to the hiving-off of new groups from the majority based on characteristics of origin, language, religion and nationality, but also to their social degradation, under which, as foreigners, they are not members of society in equal standing. If these processes lead the minority to constitute a group identity of its own in the sense of a separation sought by the minority itself, the result is a set of parallel societies, each with its own orientation. Over against this, processes of integration mark a middle course, to be negotiated anew each time, between assimilative tendencies, on the one hand, and segregative tendencies on the other. In the contemporary debate, these tendencies are paraphrased as inclusion or exclusion. Ultimately, the actual dynamics of social processes of integration lie in the fact that they are not only negotiated group by group, but that they are also shaped, both individually and personally, on the basis of civil, personal, and human rights. No school pupil, no man and no woman, whether immigrant or not, can be socially classified or overseen solely in terms of membership in a particular group. Under these aspects, today integrative concepts are being replaced by the concept of participation, the heart of which consists of individual sharing in and co-determination of public life, on a par with all others. This calls for learning processes in the treatment of cultural difference that can only be carried out together, in dialogue. Accordingly, integration serves as a central concept for the process of European unification in the European Union. On the one hand, this process acknowledges the independence of all countries, languages, cultures and religions; on the other, all of the citizens of the European Union are called upon to shape the European Union as a structural whole, through international exchange, economic co-operation, multilingual arrangements, and intercultural encounter.

Peter Graf

b) Integration – theological (Turk. Teolojik olarak Entegrasyon)

From a sociological standpoint, integration refers to the production of a social whole and a shared community of values. To achieve this aim, Recommendations on the Advancement of Theologies and Sciences concerned with Religions at German Universities [Empfehlungen zur Weiterentwicklung von Theologien und religionsbezogenen Wissenschaften an deutschen Hochschulen] , the German Council of Science and Humanities, the country’s highest scholarly advisory body, in 2010 appealed to religious communities with this observation: ‘Therefore, modern, constitutional democracies have a vital interest in utilizing religious orientations of their citizens towards the stability and development of the community.’ (p. 54) The religions are thus called upon to make their own respective contributions towards the stability and advancement of the community. Any refusal in this regard (separation, exclusion, parallel society) jeopardises community and is ethically irresponsible; total adaptation (assimilation) is not necessary, however, and for that matter is scarcely possible if religious identity is to be preserved. In a society characterised by a plurality of worldviews, integration presents for this reason a constant challenge to each and every religious community to decide how much adaptation is possible and where demarcation is necessary.

Peter Antes

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