UPSTREAM: Developing Effective Strategies for the Mainstreaming of Integration Governance January 2014 – September 2015


This project, brought together researchers in five EU countries (UK, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain), analyses how, why and to what effect governments at the EU, national and local level mainstream their migrant integration policies. It aimed to promote a learning process in terms of policy coordination, practices and outcomes in the governance of migrant integration. It also aimed to understand why and when policies are mainstreamed; to enhance understanding of and exchange lessons on how to mainstream policies; and to understand and improve the consequences of mainstreaming. In each country, the project entailed a broader outline of mainstreaming policies at the national level as well as an in-depth exploration of localised policies and practices in two locations.

COMPAS researchers were responsible for conducting fieldwork in the London Borough of Southwark and in Bristol. As migrant integration is a strongly multi-dimensional issue, work focused on two specific areas of migrant integration policies: education and social cohesion. The focus on these two areas enabled an in-depth analysis of how mainstreaming efforts have resorted to specific effects in terms of policy coordination, practices and outcomes.

Principal Investigator

Ben Gidley


Ole Jensen


European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals

Professionals' Advisory Group

Migration Policy Institute Europe
Universitat Complutense de Madrid
Institute National d’Etudes Demographiques (INED)
The Center for Migration Research in Warsaw

News & Media

Integration: a European research agenda
Blog | COMPAS Communications

Project website

Project Twitter feed


France, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, UK


CitiesEuropean UnionIntegrationPolicies




This project problematised what policy-makers mean when they talk about “mainstreaming” in education. This project framed policies in terms of two axes. It distinguished policies aimed at a “monist” society, based on an absolute, immobile or essentialist concept of ethnicity and core culture(s), from policies aimed at a “pluralist” society, defined by diversity and the dynamic crossing and blurring of ethnic and cultural boundaries. Secondly, it analysed how polices address the “dilemma of recognition”, either targeting specific groups within society or conceiving of a generic “whole” population as the target of intervention.  By conceptualising mainstreaming as the movement from monist to pluralist and targeted to generic policies, we were able to analyse the complex and contradictory nature of policy development and implementation in diverse societies.


In line with the research approach, fieldwork was carried out at the national and local level. At the national level, researchers conducted interviews with politicians, policy makers and NGO representatives. At the local level (in Bristol and Southwark), there were interviews with different stakeholders (politicians, policymakers, practitioners, immigrant organisations) and focus groups addressing the two themes (education and social cohesion).


So far, the project has analysed the politics of mainstreaming, identifying a trans-European trend from state-centric to poly-centric modes of governance and embedding integration measures into generic policy areas, such as housing and education. This trend is most advanced in “old” immigration countries, and is driven partly by an ideological backlash against multiculturalism, partly by fiscal austerity. However, the research also identified a divergence between the local and EU levels, which have seen an orientation towards diversity or even super-diversity, and the national level, where this is absent and the framing of integration has been more around promoting equality and individual responsibility, and where the agenda has been set by a politics hostile to migration. This divergence, along with the deconcentration (away from specific departments) and decentralisation (away from top-down authorities) of integration governance, have created an increasingly complex landscape for integration policy in Europe.


UPSTREAM: The Politics of Mainstreaming Immigrant Integration Policies. Case study of the United Kingdom
Reports | COMPAS Communications | 2014

Mainstreaming Integration Governance, New Trends in Migrant Integration Policies in Europe, Editors: Scholten, Peter, van Breugel, Ilona (Eds.) (2018)
Includes chapters by Ole Jensen -Immigrant Integration Mainstreaming at the City Level and Ben Gidley (et al.) ‘Mainstreaming in Practice: The Efficiencies and Deficiencies of Mainstreaming for Street-Level Bureaucrats’


The project has been hosting a series of policy round tables and transnational work visits aimed at opening up a space for knowledge exchange among policy-makers at different scales of governance in the case study countries.