Towards an understanding of anthropologist´s vocation: a brief perspective on immigrant´s integration in danish society

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University of Copenhagen
Faculty of Social Science
Anthropological perspectives on Danish Culture and Society

Towards an understanding of anthropologist´s vocation:
A brief perspective onimmigrant´s integration in Danish society.
Alvar Gallardo

It is generally agreed that immigrants’ integration in the Danish society is a theme which raised several discussions and debates,especially in the political frame. The policy makers and media use a wide range of quantitative data in order to reflect the dynamics of immigration. However in this paper I aim to establish the importance ofqualitative research when interpreting statistics. Taking the examples of two researches on Pakistani community and Arab/Muslim mothers, I will discus how anthropologists´ studies may contribute to abetter understanding of immigration.
“The goal of integration” has been prioritised in Danish society, and consequently, it has guided social policy and social research since 1983 (Schwartz 1990:49).In the media and policy makers´ discourse, the term “integration” has become prevalent. In their attempt to explain the mechanisms of this phenomenon, anthropologists started to become scepticalwhen analysing what it concretely implies. Thus, the anthropologists´ contributions in explaining the process of immigrants´ integration could be divided into analytical and empirical contributions.At first, from the analytical point of view, anthropologists talked about the ambiguity of the “integration” concept. Rytter, for example, criticizes the undifferentiated usage of integration andassumes that “despite the unclear definition, integration has become a common political ambition and desirable imagined horizon” (Rytter 2007:4). Moreover, it seems that integration is usually formulatedin terms of problems so that being “spoken about in term of our problem, we end up being the problem” (Schwartz 1990:43). This public discourse and these representations of immigrants (Grillo in...
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