After decades of fragmented and deficient government responsibility, in April 2011 the Austrian State Secretariat for Integration (SSI) was introduced as a new governmental actor in the policy field of immigrant integration. This relocation of competences prompted the questions, whether a policy change in immigration integration was the likely outcome of this reform and which dimensions of government policy were most affected by the institutional change?
The project examines the fundamental assumption of policy change in three dimensions:
(a) Policy narrative: To what extent did the narrative that was framing the governmental approach to immigrant integration change due to institutional reform?
(b) Policy measures: Did the reform lead to the suggestion of new policy measures in the field of immigrant integration? Which of these policy measures have been implemented already?
(c) Instruments: Which instruments have been applied as part of the government’s new policy approach on immigrant integration? Do they differ from instruments used in previous periods?
These research questions and dimensions will be examined in a comparative design: Narrative, Policy measures and instruments of the governmental approach to immigrant integration will be compared between two stages: an initial period prior to the establishment of the SSI (2008-2011) and the ensuing period after the SSI’s introduction (2011-2013). The project builds upon a database that was compiled in a pilot study (project title: “MONITORING”). Using document and claims analysis, the current project examines government declarations, policy reports, government bills as well as press releases and newspaper coverage. Interviews with politicians and experts will give background-insights into the institutionalisation process.