Although attention to the local level of integration policymaking has increased recently, thus far, very few studies have focused on vertical ‘multi-level’ relations between policy levels and the implications these have for integration policies. This article asks how and why different configurations of relations between national and local governments affect the governance of migrant integration. To what extent, and if so, why do vertical relations trigger frame alignment or rather divergence? Following an embedded dissimilar case study design, the analysis focuses on the UK and the Netherlands as two countries with dissimilar governance structures in the field of integration, and two cities within each country that are known for their different integration approaches: London (boroughs Tower Hamlets and Enfield) and Glasgow and Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The analysis shows that there are no top-down coordination mechanisms that create frame alignment as conceptualized in the idea of national models. Yet, frame alignment does take place in the UK in particular around ad hoc multi-level governance initiatives, while at the same time leaving significant space for adaptation of frames to local circumstances. In the Netherlands, the absence of such vertical relations leads to frame divergence or even decoupling, occasionally resulting in frame conflicts and contradictory policies.

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Journal of International Migration and Integration
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Scholten, P.W.A. (2016). Between National Models and Multi-Level Decoupling: The Pursuit of Multi-Level Governance in Dutch and UK Policies Towards Migrant Incorporation. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 17(4), 973–994. doi:10.1007/s12134-015-0438-9