European civic integration programmes claim to provide newcomers with necessary tools for successful participation. Simultaneously, these programmes have been criticised for being restrictive, market-driven and for working towards an implicit goal of limiting migration. Authors have questioned how these programmes discursively construct an offensive image of the Other and how colonial histories are reproduced in the constructions seen today. The Dutch civic integration programme is considered a leading example of a restrictive programme within Europe. Research has critically questioned the discourses within its policies, yet limited research has moved beyond policy to focus on discourse in texts in practice. This study presents a critical discourse analysis of texts used in the civic integration programme and demonstrates that they participate in multiple discursive constructions: the construction of the Dutch nation-state and its citizens as inherently modern, the construction of the Other as Unmodern and thus a threat, and the construction of the hierarchical relationship between the two. The civic integration programme has been left out of discussions on decolonisation to date, contributing to it remaining a core practice of othering. This study applies post-colonial theories to understand the impacts of current discourse, and forwards possibilities for consideration of decolonised alternatives.
- Civic integration
- critical discourse analysis