Deromanticising integration: On the importance of convivial disintegration

F. Meissner*, Tilmann Heil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


In light of current experiences with migration-driven diversification, is it still conducive to think about the effects of international migration by advocating for immigrant integration? This article argues that there are key problems with European uses of immigrant integration logics that cannot be resolved through redefinitions or reappropriations of the term. Even highly refined notions of immigrant integration misconstrue the role and relevance of differences in diversity dynamics. Immigrant integration further risks concealing and perpetuating power dynamics and (colonial) hierarchies. These continue to shape the social relevance of differences. Analytically thinking about superdiversity directs us to paying more attention to disintegration, and a notion that cannot be reduced and measured by way of individual or group performance. To be able to usefully engage with disintegration, we argue that it needs to be divorced from ideas about social fragmentation and social collapse. To do this, we draw on recent developments in the literature on conviviality to emphasise the relational practices, power asymmetries, and materialities that enter into negotiations of difference. Convivial disintegration aptly addresses continuously reconfiguring and uncertain social environments. Our article thus provides a deromanticised and enabling provocation for easing integration anxieties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-758
Number of pages19
JournalMigration Studies
Issue number3
Early online date13 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • disintegration
  • conviviality
  • immigrant integration
  • superdiversity
  • difference
  • ITC-CV


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