Integration (sociology)

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The term integration is from the Latin integratio derived (renewal) and the means Sociology training

  • a common set of values ​​with the inclusion of groups that initially or recently represent different values, or
  • a living and working community with a inclusion of people who are excluded for various reasons from this ( excludes) and partly summarized in special communities were.
Illustration of different concepts

Integration removes the state of exclusion and separation . Integration describes a dynamic, long-lasting and very differentiated process of joining and growing together. The opposite term to this is disintegration . Integration is also seen as a form of acculturation .

Absolute and relational integration

According to Jürgen Friedrichs , one can differentiate between relational and absolute integration. Relational integration thus refers to a single element and how it is integrated into a larger unit. Absolute integration, on the other hand, relates to the superordinate unit and can be used as a measure of the overall cohesion of all units to one another.

Social integration and system integration

According to David Lockwood , it makes a difference whether one speaks of the integration of individual people and groups into society or of the integration of individual social subsystems. Lockwood calls the cohesion of social subsystems (e.g. the economic system, legal system, etc.) system integration. The integration of individual people into society is described by him as social integration.

Classic approaches to integration in sociology

Numerous sociological classics have dealt intensively with questions of social integration. Especially the early theorists of sociology ( Emile Durkheim , Herbert Spencer , Georg Simmel , Ferdinand Tönnies ) always describe the change in society as a change in the respective mode of social integration. In early tribal societies, social cohesion was established in spatially limited and small communities through kinship and similarity ( homogeneity ). Durkheim called this form of social integration mechanical solidarity . The type of society that is based on that mechanical solidarity was called a militant society by Spencer, which, with little internal differentiation, is primarily directed towards external protection. For Tönnies this is the community, which he distinguishes from society in his main work, Community and Society .

Through a process of differentiation, society changes; over time, the homogeneous tribal society becomes a heterogeneous, functionally differentiated society. While in small, homogeneous groups, similarity and kinship were sufficient to ensure social integration, complex mass societies require a different mode of integration. Durkheim calls this form organic solidarity . Spencer, in turn, now speaks of industrial society and Tönnies of society. All three mean - with differences in detail - roughly a form of integration that is anonymous and based on mutual functional dependency. For Simmel, this form of integration is symbolized in the modern city as opposed to village-rural life.

Social integration of certain groups of people

Transition Management in Adolescents

In the case of adolescents, transition management is about opening up perspectives and, in particular, supporting pupils who attend special school or secondary school in their social integration and the transition from school to work.

Integration after migration

The process of integrating people with a migration background consists of rapprochement, mutual discussion, communication , finding common ground, identifying differences and assuming joint responsibility between immigrants and the majority population present. In contrast to assimilation (complete adaptation), integration does not require the abandonment of one's own cultural identity . The integration process in Germany derives its dynamism from various initiatives by individuals and organizations ( voluntary welfare , migrant self-organizations ) and from the state ( National Integration Plan , Federal Advisory Council for Integration ).

Requirements for people with a migration background

The possibility of participating in the social life of the host society requires the acquisition of certain knowledge, skills, attitudes and the will to undertake an extensive re-socialization and reorganization of the personality. The key here is learning the new language and a certain ability and willingness to communicate with the host society.

In multiethnic and multicultural societies, some form of integration can occur that allows immigrants to maintain the cultural identities of their societies of origin. In this case, the phenomenon of increasing “internal integration” can arise, within the framework of which ethnic minorities can build enclaves and cultural circles with their own language and their own market for services and cultural offers. If this is the case, such parallel societies also formulate the socio-cultural requirement profile for new migrants.

Requirements for the host society

Processes of social integration of people with a migration background are shaped by the openness of the host society towards immigrants and their children. If people with a migration background are to be able to integrate, it is necessary to create the conditions for participation in communal goods and activities, in particular to make the labor market and the housing market accessible. A secure job provides steady income, social prestige , self-fulfillment and social relationships. To prevent parallel societies , the formation of urban enclaves must be ruled out, for example through even distribution in the allocation of public housing and suitable urban development measures that include the integration of immigrants in urban planning.

Equal access to educational and training facilities that accelerates integration is also essential. Since schools or classes with a high proportion of migrant children lead to social segregation and prevent access to education in the majority society, consideration must be given to how such high rates can be prevented (e.g. by changing the division of school districts).

Another task of the host society is to ostracize and punish xenophobia, prejudice , discrimination and racism . This can be achieved through opinion-forming processes from civil society, but also through judicial authorities (judiciary, police), awareness-raising campaigns, for example in schools, and through integrating projects.

The political concept that deals with the dismantling of cultural barriers - also apart from the topic of immigration - is presented under the term interculture .

Integration in Germany
Integration of foreign worker families: Postage stamp of the Deutsche Bundespost from 1981

With the basic rights enshrined in the Basic Law , everyone has the right to their own opinion , freedom of religion and freedom of conscience . In addition to the acquisition of the German language, which is the basic requirement for participation, consideration for the basic rights of others is of great importance. The extent to which special personal convictions (e.g. about democracy, gender relations), the freedom of which is guaranteed by the Basic Law, have to adapt to the values ​​of the majority society, is the subject of heated political debate in Germany.

Also the observance of the legal system democratically developed by the majority population present, which as special values ​​include non-violence , free choice of religion, exit from religious communities , gender equality , freedom of expression, protection of property , night's sleep , protection of personal rights , free choice of partners and of the workplace is necessary for peaceful coexistence.

Naturalization is very important for the integration of people with a migration background . The legislature sees in the assumption of German citizenship not only the justification of legal membership in the German state combined with civil participation rights, but also the commitment to the German legal and cultural community. The legislature claims to be able to protect the cultural identity of foreigners when assessing the legal situation by ensuring that the legal system of the state to which they belong “at the time of the facts” is also taken into account by German authorities and courts (→ private international law ).

Integration of people with disabilities

(See also: Participation (disabled people) and integration of people with disabilities in the world of work )

Georg Feuser defines integration as "the common activity (playing / learning / working) on ​​the common object / product in cooperation between disabled and non-disabled people". Accordingly, people with disabilities are integrated when they are included in communication and working groups.

In the case of goal-different integration , reduced requirements or special conditions apply to people with disabilities. In the case of integration with the same goal , people with disabilities receive compensation for their disadvantages (e.g. in the form of longer processing times for examinations for people with visual impairment) so that they can successfully achieve the common goal. In the case of integration with the same goals, the boundaries to promoting the weaker, and therefore to inclusion , are fluid.

Regulations on severely disabled people , especially in the Ninth Book of the Social Code (SGB IX), regulate the integration of people with disabilities into working life. The representatives of the severely disabled in companies have z. B. the right to request the conclusion of an integration agreement that the management should conclude with the representative body for employees with severe disabilities and the works council or the staff council . These regulations relate, among other things, to personnel planning, workplace design, work organization and the design of the work environment. Further regulations on the desired employment rate and training of disabled young people can be made.

See also

Portal: Migration and Integration  - Articles, categories and more on migration and flight, intercultural dialogue and integration


Web links

Wiktionary: Integration  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Jürgen Friedrichs, Wolfgang Jagodzinski: Theories of social integration. In: Jürgen Friedrichs, Wolfgang Jagodzinski: Social Integration. Special volume of the KZfSS. 1999, pp. 9-43.
  2. David Lockwood: Social Integration and Systems Integration. In: Wolfgang Zapf: Theories of social change. 1969, pp. 124-137.
  3. ^ Richard Münch: Elements of a theory of the integration of modern societies. An inventory. In: Berlin Journal for Sociology. Issue 1, 1995, pp. 5-24.
  4. ^ Karl-Heinz Hillmann: Integration. In: Dictionary of Sociology. Alfred Kröner Verlag, Stuttgart 2010, pp. 383–384.
  5. Joint upbringing, education and instruction of disabled and non-disabled children and young people in kindergarten and school (integration). In: (PDF; 34 kB)