Policymakers across Western welfare states increasingly make full citizenship contingent on refugees adapting to liberal democratic values and practising active citizenship. Simultaneously, the new public governance paradigm has reinvigorated policymakers’ belief in civil society as a crucial partner for tackling societal challenges like integration. Consequently, cross-sector co-production of civic communities is increasingly perceived as a model for amplifying the participation and integration of refugees. The practices and outcomes of cross-sector co-produced integration remain underexplored. Based on a three-year qualitative study of four cross-sector integration projects in a Danish municipality, this article contributes knowledge to this important issue. We explore how volunteers and municipal staff co-produce civic communities to enhance the participation and integration of refugees. We find that a recurrent way of co-producing communities is through public agents commissioning communities from voluntary organisations. Next, we identify two recurrent forms of participation available to refugees through those commissioned communities. In the first, conditioned participation, the commissioning of communities is characterised by inter-sectoral distance and knowledge gaps, conditioning participation on the resources of each refugee. In the second, clientised participation, the inter-sectoral collaboration resembles a commissioner/service–provider relation, with refugees as clients referred to voluntary services.
- Ane GrubbKathrine Vitus
About this publication
Published inNordic Journal of Migration Research