Rethinking Integration: a comparative mixed methods study of civil society action in vulnerable superdiverse neighbourhoods in Sweden.

Research project
Active research
Project size
3 772 288
Project period
2020 - 2023
Project owner
Department of Sociology and Work Science

The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet)

Short description

‘Rethinking Integration’ builds on a multi-dimensional approach to integration and inclusion and aim for a detailed picture of civil society’s role in aiding integration, to develop theory around integration and social capital while contributing to long-standing debates about civil society, integration and diversity.

The project ‘Rethinking Integration’ fills a gap in current scholarship by approaching civil society responses to integration across multiple domains in Sweden’s so called ‘vulnerable areas’, linking these to the local context of vulnerability, to superdiversity, to formal and informal variants of civil society and variants of social capital. Superdiverse neighbourhoods refer here to areas with increasing levels of local diversity and population complexity in relation to a combination of factors such as gender, age, class, race, language, religion and diverging labour market experiences and, centrally, migration status and length of residence.

Civil society is increasingly recognized for aiding integration in central domains of integration such as employment, economic sufficiency, language skills, health and political participation, and a multi-dimensional approach is therefore required. However, previous research has almost exclusively focused on formal civil society organisations, and informal initiatives that fall below the administrative radar have received scant attention. As a result, superdiverse and vulnerable neighbourhoods have been described as civil society deserts, despite informal initiatives being overlooked.

This project draws on a mixed methods approach, and combine analysis of register data and statistical modelling of how CSOs influence integration across various domains, in tandem with qualitative micro-mapping of formal and informal activities in comparative qualitative case studies, where interviews are also undertaken with local residents and stakeholders.


Gabriella Elgenius, project leader

Juta Kawalerowicz, Stockholm University, Department of Human Geography

Jenny Phillimore, University of Birmingham