The acceptance and migration project researches stereotypical patterns of thought and action which impact people with a migrant background. Conventional patterns of argument will be analysed in order to devise strategies for breaking down these stereotypes. The goal is to develop proposals for political education designed to foster social diversity and facilitate successful integration.
How do migrants and non-migrants experience discrimination or belonging, acceptance or marginalisation? And how does society give migrants and non-migrants a feeling of belonging, respect and solidarity, as well as mutual acceptance? In spring 2015 Styrian government's department for science and research issued a call for research projects to examine how stereotypical patterns of argumentation persist. The project on the acceptance and participation of migrants, designed to help break down stereotypical patterns of exclusion and submitted by the August Aichhorn Institute of Social Work at FH JOANNEUM, was one of the six winning projects.
Knowledge basis for equality of opportunity and acceptance
The project intends to highlight the patterns involved in socially excluding migrants in order to create a shift towards equality of opportunity and an acceptance of diversity. Taking an ethnographic approach, the scientists immerse themselves in the environment in which migrants and non-migrants live in order to explore their understanding of racism, stereotypical prejudices and contempt, as well as investigating their worries, hopes and wishes.
Current discourse on integration is more strongly focused on the adjustment (assimilation) and repression of minorities, than on accepting them and encouraging them to take an active role in society (participation). The challenge is to stop this deficit-focused approach to people with a migrant background, and instead to recognise the potential embodied in the social diversity represented by these groups. The project on the acceptance and participation of migrants wishes to make a practical contribution towards an appreciative approach by offering strategies for peaceful coexistence in diversity and potential solutions to integration issues.