The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 №3

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Ethno-confessional immigrant ghettos as a national security problem in Denmark’s social and political discourse



The ghettoisation of immigrant areas in Denmark is a lengthy and objective process of the emergence of ethno-religious ‘parallel societies’ in the state. Cultural and religious principles that are often at odds with the democratic values of Danish society guide the actions of ghetto residents. Danish social and political discourse pictures this ideological difference between the host society and Muslim immigrant minorities as a potential threat to Denmark’s national security caused by a combination of political, social, and economic factors. The ensuing social disunity and violation of the country’s territorial integrity take the problem to a regional and international level. Through analysing public speeches of Danish social and political actors, this article reconstructs key stages in the development of parallel societies in Denmark. Another focus is official government strategies to prevent isolated immigrant areas from turning into ghettoes: the Government’s Strategy against Ghettoisation (2004), Return of the Ghetto to Society: Confronting Parallel Societies in Denmark (2010), and One Denmark without Parallel Societies: No Ghettos in 2030 (2018). The escalation of the social conflict calls for the Danish authorities to take decisive action against the enclavisation of segregated immigrant communities. This study employs discourse analysis to evaluate the efficiency and identify the shortcomings of government action to integrate ethno-confessional minorities into society. Particular attention is paid to analysing public reaction to the criteria for identifying ghettoes as well as to annual publications of official ghetto lists.