Recognition and Civic Selection
Hirvonen, O. (2021). Recognition and Civic Selection. In G. Schweiger (Ed.), Migration, Recognition and Critical Theory (pp. 191-210). Springer. Studies in Global Justice, 21. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-72732-1_9
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Large-scale immigration and the refugee crisis have caused many states to adapt ever stricter civic selection processes. This paper discusses the challenges arising from civic selection from the perspective of recognition theories. The argument is that recognition theories provide good conceptual tools with which to critically analyze civic selection and immigration. However, the paper also aims to highlight that many current institutional practices are problematic from the perspective of recognition. In the context of civic selection, it is helpful to understand recognition as something that comes in two analytically distinct modes: horizontal (or interpersonal) and vertical (or institutional). Many rights depend on institutionally given statuses (skilled worker, refugee, permanent resident, etc.). For a person to have a relevant social standing, she needs to be recognized by a relevant governmental institution. However, in vertical relationships, immigrants are faced with a lack of reciprocity. They need to one-sidedly recognize the institutions, which, in turn, have full power to withhold recognition. Migrants also face challenges in the interpersonal horizontal spheres of recognition. Institutional status being granted does not guarantee interpersonal solidarity or care. As recognition is tied to a particular institutional setting and a particular lifeworld, large-scale immigration sets two challenges. The first is the challenge of multiculturalism and recognition of diverging cultural practices of esteem. The second is the challenge of integration and obtaining recognition from the pre-existing cultural context. It is argued here that from the perspective of esteem-recognition, this is very much a question of working rights and providing opportunities for contributing in the new context. From the perspective of care-recognition, in turn, rights to healthcare and family unifications are central. Thus, achieving meaningful personal relationships is not guaranteed by giving rights, but it is nevertheless dependent on institutional recognition. ...
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