Multiculturalism Policies in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism Policies

in Contemporary Democracies

Multiculturalism Policies

in Contemporary Democracies

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Denmark

flag of Denmark
   
TOTAL SCORES
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 1

 

1. CONSTITUTIONAL, LEGISLATIVE OR PARLIAMENTARY AFFIRMATION OF MULTICULTURALISM AT THE CENTRAL AND/OR REGIONAL AND MUNICIPAL LEVELS AND THE EXISTENCE OF A GOVERNMENT MINISTRY, SECRETARIAT OR ADVISORY BOARD TO IMPLEMENT THIS POLICY IN CONSULTATION WITH ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

    No.

   
Affirmation Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • The constitution contains nothing that relates directly to culture or cultural rights (Duelund and Valtysson 2010). Since the early-2000s, Denmark has implemented increasingly restrictive policies pertaining to immigrant integration (Holtug 2013) and criticism of multiculturalism remains prominent in public discourse (Loegaard 2013). 
  • Although the government introduced an Integration Act in 1999 (which was most recently amended in 2017), the Act is primarily focused on ensuring newcomers adopt Danish values and culture, becoming employed and self-sufficient as soon as possible. There is no mention of multiculturalism. Indeed, the Act would appear to be explicitly aimed at immigrants with minority backgrounds given that it does notapply to newcomers originating from Nordic countries or within the European Community. 
  • Similarly, while there is a Ministry of Refugee, Immigration and Integration Affairs, its mandate relates primarily to labour market integration, the teaching of Danish, overcoming “ghettoization,” and improving ethnic minority youths’ educational outcomes. Indeed, in March 2018, the ministry introduced “One Denmark Without Parallel Societies: No Ghettos in 2030,” a package of policies that aim to dismantle ethnic enclaves across the country (Barry and Sorensen 2018). The Danish government defines ghettos as low-income residential areas consisting primarily of non-Western immigrants (Nielson 2018; Waaddegaard 2019) and now requires that all children over the age of 1 who reside in these ghettos to attend a minimum of 30 hours/week of public education centering on “Danish values” and language development (Ngo 2018). Parents that do not comply and refuse to send their children to the program could risk losing their welfare benefits. In addition to this “values training”, children are also not allowed to take part in “re-acculturation trips” (genopdragelsesrejser) – trips abroad which the Ministry of Immigration (cited in The Local 2017) defines as “sending children or young people under 18 years of age - often against their will - to their parents' homeland or another country for an extended period”, for the purpose of learning about their families’ cultures, language, or relations. 
  • With the “One Denmark” strategy, laws have also passed which allow residents of ghettos to receive harsher penalties for committing crimes (Barry and Sorensen 2018). In some cases, this could mean that an individual can be sentenced to prison for crimes which are otherwise classified as a finable offence. Public housing will also be significantly reduced in these areas to “‘prevent parallel societies’ by integrating ‘socially disadvantaged residential areas’ with the surrounding community through the development of different types of housing” (Pederson, Minister of Transport and Housing, cited in Versi 2020).  
  • Bird (2005, 41) argues that there is a “fundamental hostility toward the idea of a multicultural society,” which she suggests stems from Denmark’s ardent nationalism, as well as its commitment to liberal values which are sometimes viewed as incompatible with “immigrant values.” Bird also notes that Danes believe it is difficult to achieve equality without cultural sameness and undifferentiated political rights (the Danish word lighed means simultaneously “cultural similarity” and “political sameness”). She argues that “similarity is believed to be a necessary condition for equality and one cannot, within this conceptual framework, be culturally different and politically equal” (Bird 2005, 40).

 

2. THE ADOPTION OF MULTICULTURALISM IN SCHOOL CURRICULUM

    No.

   
School Curriculum Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • In Danish education programs there is an emphasis on teaching Danish values, and integration efforts in the schools are largely oriented towards assimilation (Horst 2010, 140; Szalai et al. 2009, 45). In a review of education legislation policy documents produced by the Danish government between 2002 and 2007, Horst and Gitz-Johansen (2010, 144) note the emphasis on “Danishness” and the correction of“cultural and linguistic deficits” that immigrants from non-Western countries are believed to possess. They also argue that a central aim of the measures is to “eliminate the presence or representation of ethnic minority cultures and languages in education.” This is expressly the case in regard to the education and cultural training programs implemented for children in the “One Denmark” strategy. One of the core policies of the strategy includes mandatory language tests for schools where more than 30% of the students are from “ghettos”; sanctions would be imposed on schools that do not meet the language standards (Perrigo 2018).
  • The Danish Ministry of Children and Education sets national curriculum standards and designates the compulsory subjects. These include Christian studies, which must be taken throughout primary and secondary school (Danish Ministry of Children and Education 2018). Specific references to multiculturalism could not be found, and there is no mention of broader religious studies programs or foreign-language instruction.
  • In the early 2000s, the government centralized much of the curriculum planning and increased control over Muslim faith schools. There was a greater emphasis placed on teaching history and Danish, as well as “the teaching of democratic citizenship to counteract radicalization processes” (Jensen and Mouritsen 2015). As Szalai et al. (2009, 25) note, Danish “schools introduce special courses to target cultural competence and normalisation (civilisation), that is to make all students think and feel democratically in a ‘Western’ or ‘civilised’ manner.” This would seem to run somewhat counter to the spirit of multiculturalism. 
  • A 2006 report on Denmark by the UN Convention on Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted that the curriculum did not include a sufficient focus on ethnic minority cultures and recommended that steps be taken so that the country’s cultural diversity would be better reflected in schools and the country’s education policy (Horst and Gitz-Johansen 2010). A review of arts education in Danish primary and secondary schools further recommended that the curriculum better acknowledge the country’s multicultural realities (Bamford and Qvortrup 2006).

 

3. THE INCLUSION OF ETHNIC REPRESENTATION/SENSITIVITY IN THE MANDATE OF PUBLIC MEDIA OR MEDIA LICENSING

    No.

   
Media Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Although some minority-language newscasts and radio programs were produced prior to the immigration reforms of 2001, these have now decreased or been discontinued. In addition, a reduction in the state subsidy for local radio broadcasts hit ethnic radio stations particularly hard. In assessing the situation in Denmark, Hussain (2002, 11) notes “the public service broadcasting companies, [and] especially the TV stations, have marginalised diasporic minorities in the media to a level of complete exclusion.”
  • Nonetheless, in 2006 the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) committed to providing news coverage in the country’s most spoken foreign languages, a provision that will be implemented in the next media agreement, which is slated to extend from 2011-2014 (Duelund and Valtysson 2010). While this is a reversal from the earlier decision to discontinue foreign language news broadcasts, it is not an explicit commitment to minority representation in the media. Indeed, there is no mention in the legislation of any obligation to represent or reflect Denmark’s cultural diversity in the media, although there are provisions related to the production of a “multiplicity” of programs (Duelund and Valtysson 2010).
  • Despite its intention to protect and promote German as a minority language when it ratified the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, German television and radio programs remain inaccessible. There are currently no German television programs and very few German radio shows (Committee of Ministers 2017).   

 

4. EXEMPTIONS FROM DRESS CODES (EITHER BY STATUTE OR COURT CASES)

    No.

   
Exemption Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • A 2000 case ruled that it was discriminatory for a Danish department store to fire a woman specifically for wearing the hijab (Hansen 2006). In 2005, however, the courts ruled in favour of a supermarket chain, which imposed requirements that banned employees from wearing any headgear that was not a part of the official uniform. The court found that because the complainant had signed a document agreeing to abide by company policies, she was bound by the requirement. Further, it noted that employers are free to determine policies related to employee clothing so long as they are applied equally to all staff (Lukowski 2010).
  • Similarly, the uniform policy of the Danish Home Guard, a voluntary military corps, does not allow headscarves (Olsen 2009).
  • In 2005, a Sikh man was convicted and fined in a Copenhagen court after carrying his kirpan in public. Although the court acknowledged that the dagger was a religious symbol, it nonetheless deemed it to be a weapon (Singh 2005).
  • In 2008, the government moved to ban religious symbols from Danish courtrooms, and legislation was enacted in 2009. While the ban covers crucifixes, turbans, Jewish skullcaps, and the hijab, it was largely deemed to be aimed at Muslim women judges (BBC 2008). This followed a 2008 debate over the wearing of headscarves in Parliament; here it was determined that the headscarf was permissible, so long as members could be recognized.
  • In 2018, Denmark also banned the wearing of face coverings, including niqabs and burqas, in public spaces (Ingber 2018; The Local2019a). Those in violation of the policy can be fined up to 10,000 kroner by their fourth violation of the law (Ingber 2018). The ban does not apply to headscarves, turbans, nor Jewish skull caps, but, as Shadi Hamid (cited in Ingber 2018) notes, "It will have the effect of further polarizing society and further alienating the Muslim minority population. There is only one minority group that is affected by this — Muslims." A year after it came into effect, The Local (2019a) reported that 23 individuals had been fined under the law according to national policing statistics. 

 

5. ALLOWS DUAL CITIZENSHIP

    Yes.

   
Dual Citizenship Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 1

Evidence:

  • Multiple citizenships were not permitted until the 2014 amendment to the Nationality Act (Ministry of Immigration and Integration 2020). Effective in 2015, the amendment, also known as the Act on Multiple Nationalities, allows Danish citizens to retain their citizenship if they acquire a foreign nationality. Moreover, foreign nationals seeking to acquire Danish citizenship are no longer required to renounce their previous citizenship. 

 

6. THE FUNDING OF ETHNIC GROUP ORGANIZATIONS OR ACTIVITIES

    No.

   
Funding Ethnic Groups Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • No significant evidence of funding to ethnic organizations could be found. Bird (2005) notes that in 2002, the Danish government stopped providing financial assistance to a number of ethnic minority and anti-racism organizations. Anker et al. (2011) observe that many migrant groups depend on assistance from privately-funded NGOs and that they are increasingly unable to help vulnerable populations without state assistance.  
  • The 1999 Integration Act did establish a Council for Ethnic Minorities, which is tasked with providing advice to the Minister for Immigration, and Integration Affairs on issues related to immigrants and refugees. The council meets with the minister every three months. The council consists of five members appointed by the Minister (including the Chairman), permanent members for each of the four largest municipalities, and five members elected from a large network that represents all municipalities in Denmark (REM 2020a). Some of the council’s current areas of focus include ethnic minority women in employment, education, democratic participation and citizenship, vulnerable neighbourhoods, negative social control, and fighting poverty (REM 2020a). Although the council has undertaken some activities related to ethnic minorities (e.g., Promoting Diversity Within Voluntary Social Organisations), state support relates largely to the provision of advice on government policy, not the promotion or preservation of ethnic minority issues (Council for Ethnic Minorities2010).
  • The 2004 Action Plan to Promote Equal Treatment did not put any resources towards anti- discrimination measures (Stenum 2005, 23).

 

7. THE FUNDING OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION OR MOTHER TONGUE INSTRUCTION

No. Very restricted and primarily used as a pedagogical tool to facilitate learning Danish.

   
Bilingual Education Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Denmark remains centrally preoccupied with the learning of Danish (Szalai et al. 2009). 
  • In their review of education policies in Denmark, Horst and Gitz-Johansen (2010, 144) note that there is an emphasis on eliminating minority languages from the school system, and there have been significant reductions in mother tongue language instruction since statefunding was eliminated in 2002. As a result, mother tongue education is provided to just 5,000 children who come primarily from European backgrounds; this is just a fraction of the 70,000 children in Denmark who are officially bilingual.
  • In 2002, mother tongue lessons were limited to those from an EU background (Horst 2010, 144). In 2007, bilingual education was re-introduced as a right in Denmark, although it is only provided to students from European countries, and the emphasis has been more on the learning of Danish than on the mother tongue (Szalai et al. 2009, 26). That is, even in cases where bilingual education is provided, mother tongue instruction is viewed primarily as a pedagogical tool that can help students learn Danish as quickly as possible; it has little to do with cultural maintenance or preservation. For example, the Committee of Ministers (2017) notes that while some individuals are able to receive mother tongue instruction in German, there has been very little exposure to the culture and history of the German-speaking minority in Denmark. 
  • As is noted in the government’s overview of the country’s curriculum for primary and secondary schools, “Teaching in Danish as a second language is provided when necessary to bilingual children in pre-school class and in form levels 1-9. The Minister of Education is responsible for establishing the regulations concerning education in Danish as a second language to bilingual children and concerning mother-tongue tuition of children from Member States of the European Economic Area, as well as the Faeroe Islands and Greenland” (Danish Ministry of Children and Education 2018).
  • As mentioned in the previous section on education, strict requirements for Danish language acquisition and skill development are central to the “One Denmark” policy. This includes mandatory language tests for schools where more than 30% of the students are from “ghettos”, and schools will face significant penalties (including funding cuts and potential closures) for those that fail to meet the standards (Perrigo 2018). 
  • Denmark’s approach to mother tongue instruction has been criticized by the UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) because it differentiates between European-origin children and all others, a position that the UN regards as discriminatory (Horst and Gitz-Johansen 2010).

 

8. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR DISADVANTAGED IMMIGRANT GROUPS

    No.

   
Affirmative Action Scores
Year: 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Score: 0 0 0 0 0

Evidence:

  • Investment in strategies to increase ethnic minority representation in public institutions has been small despite there being evidence of discrimination against ethnic minorities within educational institutions (Stenum 2005, 19).
  • In 2003, an Act on Ethnic Equal Treatment was passed. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity. Nonetheless, in spite of Denmark’s emphasis on ensuring immigrants enter the labour market as quickly as possible, there is no evidence of any additional positive action measures.
  • Even in the gender literature, it is noted that where there is legislation obliging public authorities to work toward gender equality, there has been a “backlash” against affirmative action programs for women and men working in non-traditional occupations and, moreover, that Danes are somewhat uncomfortable with the notion of preferential hiring (FCZB 2001). This may stem from Denmark’s traditional emphasis on the notion of “equality.”
  • In recent years, the Council of Ethnic Minorities has raised the issue of ethnic minority women’s under-employment, finding that only one fifth of immigrant women are able to secure employment compared to more than half of immigrant men (REM 2020b). They include a series of recommendations for increasing women’s engagement in the workforce but do not recommend any kind of affirmative action-type policies. Instead, the focus of the recommendations is on language training and shifting cultural views about women’s roles in society.