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Журнал » Journal_eng » Journal 26 : T. Macho, I. V. Lebedeva, M. M. Bicharova, MIGRATION IN EUROPE AS SYSTEMIC PHENOMENON OF THE CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY
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T. Macho,

Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, Berlin,

I. V. Lebedeva, M. M. Bicharova,

Caspian Institute of Sea & River Transport


The article is devoted to the issues of cultural security in modern Europe, and the policy of multiculturalism. It is also considered as a systemic issue of a contemporary society. There a lot of problems of European society such as: a of lack of understanding between the migrants and their host community, the desire to preserve the own identity, not dissolve in the “melting pot” of cultural diversity, are considered today in a new context. The article also considers the problems in the context of PRGIDA movement (patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West), which blames immigrants for most the problems which we have nowadays. Heads of State have to put a lot of effort to maintain intercultural interaction and balance between “the own” and “the stranger” in a multicultural and multiethnic society which makes the basis of European cultural security today. This problem is typical for many European countries but the example of Germany in outstanding as it has more migrants than other countries. That is why we give a lot of examples in the context of the situation in Germany. The opinion of the European citizens and their attitude to migrants is also quite different. However, most people in Europe, expressing their opposition to the flow of migrants to their countries also voiced against the PEGIDA movement and draw parallels with fascism.


Keywords: policy of multiculturalism; migrants; the movement PEGIDA; Islamophobia; a stranger; the other; the elite; the cultural security.

For citation: Macho T., Lebedeva I. V., Bicharova M. M. Migration in Europe as systemic phenomenon of the contemporary society // Systems psychology and sociology. 2018. № 2 (26). Р. 82–88.


* This article was written with the financial support of the Russian Humanitarian Scientific Foundation, project No. 15-33-11172 «Cultural security in heterotopic conditions».





Migration as a complex social process affects absolutely all spheres of life of entire peoples and is one of the determinants of the demographic structure of the society. Affecting the socioeconomic, cultural, political and other aspects of the life of society, migration is a good indicator of the well-being or disadvantage of individual countries and regions. Migration is a mass phenomenon that is why the issue of managing migration processes is especially acute today. Socio-economic and ethnopolitical problems arising from migration are widely discussed by domestic and foreign political and mass media communities, and are increasingly becoming the object of scientific research. The problem is also increasingly taking the minds of ordinary people, in particular, very many citizens of Europe who are directly facing it.


Attitude to migrants in Europe



Today, the most urgent issues for discussion are migration issues in Europe and in other countries of the world. Since the mid-1980s, there has been a rapid influx of migrants to Europe. © Macho T., Lebedeva I.V., Bicharova M.M., 2018 Социологическиеисследования 83 Over the past 15 years, countries traditionally receiving migrants, the United States, Australia, Canada, are also experiencing migration consequences. The problem is also relevant in Japan and in the countries of South-East Asia. The causes of migration can be different and have their own specifics in each country, as well as the consequences of migration, but there are problems that are common to all countries, namely, the growth of violence, crime, marginalization, and sentimentality. Migrants leave their countries because of financial or environmental crisis, military conflicts or simply in search of a better life. Often they fail to become the part of a new society and then in the host country there are many problems associated with the emergence of parallel communities, misunderstanding, additional costs for integration programs. Heinz Bushkovsky [7] in his book “Neukell everywhere”, as well as German authors of the Turkish origin of Nekla Kelek [13], Seyran Atesh [5] spoke about the problem of parallel communities. The existence of parallel communities is possible due to the maintenance of their sociocultural environment, since many migrants live compactly in German cities, go to their mosques, observe traditions and even do not speak German at all. Being completely strangers to their community, they feel comfortable in their world quite comfortably and do not make efforts to integrate [17].

 In order to improve the situation in the country, the host countries of migrants adhere to the policy of multiculturalism. Understanding and respecting the desire of migrants to preserve their identity, the governments of the European countries finance programs to implement the ideas of multiculturalism, conducting and financing events. The policy of multiculturalism is aimed at preserving the cultural differences of citizens of the country or migrants living in it. At the same time, politicians and public figures constantly promote the ideas of tolerance and emphasize the advantages of cultural diversity. A vivid example of the manifestation of the multiculturalism policy in everyday life can be a carnival of cultures, held annually in Berlin for three days, where all residents of the German capital can take part in the carnival procession and demonstrate the specifics of their national culture. The House of the World’s Cultures which is also situated in the German capital is a center where activities aimed at popularizing non-European culture are organized, such as film screenings, concerts, music and dance programs, photo exhibitions and art exhibitions, and different forums. All this contributes to the support of multiculturalism and awakens the interest of local residents in everything new. It should be noted that the craving for all the strange, unusual traditionally inherent inhabitants of Berlin: they are famous for their tolerance to different representatives of society, not only to ethnic groups, but also to the bearers of a different worldview and way of life, and sexual orientation. In confirmation of this, it is enough just to pay attention to advertising banners hanging all over the capital: “The most beautiful resident of Berlin — with a migration past,” such a comment we see under the portrait of the Egyptian beauty Nefertitti, whose bust is stored in Berlin; “The Berlin family is not like everyone else,” is written under a photograph depicting two women with a child in their arms; “The culture of football is as tolerant as Berlin itself. “We want homosexuality in football to be treated as normal as in the German capital”, is written under the image of a football player representing a sexual minority. “I’m a Muslim, and what’s wrong with that?” — is the inscription under the photograph of a famous German TV presenter.


The fears of European citizens



Despite the high level of tolerance, both from citizens and the government, there are still various concerns about the cultural security of the local population. Indigenous people are beginning to feel some discomfort from the neighborhood with migrants. Some even lose the sense of cultural security, which causes the concern for the future of their country and the society. It is not surprising that the inhabitants of Germany, worried about the state of affairs in the country, created in the fall of 2014 the PEGIDA movement (PEGIDA — patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West). Supporters of PEGIDA movement aim to combat the spread of Islam in Europe. The PEGIDA movement has a manifesto consisting of 19 items, calling for tighter control of the flow of migrants to European countries, the preservation of Christian culture in the Western world [11].

Originating in Dresden in October 2014, the movement quickly spread throughout Germany and now has branches in cities such as Munich, Bonn, Leipzig, Hannover, Berlin, Kassel, Stuttgart, receiving its names (LEGIDA, BAGHIDA, CAGIDA — and so on, by the name of the federal state), the movement also spread to Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Great Britain, where PEGID activists also began to conduct antiIslamic actions [15]. Responding to the reaction of the European public were statements against the PEGID movement, the condemnation of its activities by high-ranking officials, the collection of signatures to ban its activities.

The chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, also spoke negatively of the movement, considering absurd the possibility of an Islamic conquest of Germany as well as the possibility of a revival of Nazism. But it is with fascism that the citizens of Europe, tolerant of migrants and the activities of the PEGID movement, are compared. In her New Year’s speech, the German Chancellor appealed to the population not to go out in support of anti-Islamic demonstrations, not to join the ranks of their organizers [1].

The PEGIDA movement continues to exert a significant influence on the formation of radical anti-migration ideas in Europe, which is the reason for the frustration for the cultural security of Europe. After all, under cultural security, we understand not only “the maintenance of security in the cultural sphere, such as the prevention of religious and ethnic conflicts, the decline of spirituality, the destruction of cultural monuments, but also the maintenance of national security...” [2]. Reflecting on cultural security, it is worth mentioning the point of view of J. Friedman, according to which cultural security should be considered from the standpoint of cultural insecurity. For example, the growing anti-grant sentiment in Europe is a cultural danger for all migrants living in Europe [10], as well as European citizens with a migration background. In support of what Friedman said, one can cite an example of a flagrant violation of human rights, which also aroused indignation among German citizens themselves. In the German city of Essen, signs appeared in public transport bearing the inscription in English and Arabic: “These places are intended for citizens with a German passport,” therefore, foreigners, migrants and tourists should sit only in the rear seats on the bus, or can only stand. The accusation of migrants in many problems of European society has been going on for a long time and reached its heyday in Germany in 2010, when Tilo Sarrazin published his book “Germany is self-destructing” The popularity of T. Sarrazin himself and his book is confirmed by the fact that from August to November 2010 his bestseller was published already in the fifteenth edition, and the sales rate was about ten thousand a day, by December 2010 more than 1.5 million copies had been sold [17]. The quintessence of the book is a grounded sad forecast for the development of the social situation in Germany, as a consequence of the fall in the birth rate and a large influx of migrants — Muslims, who are practically incapable of integration.


Demographic threat



The present situation in Europe looks even more tense than in 2010, when T. Sarrazin frightened everyone with the threat of islamization of the West. Researchers studied the facts for six years and factors of 234 state strikes and regions and outlined the results of their work on 245 pages. The research tasks included predicting the fate of the five world religions: Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism. To date, almost a third of the world’s population professes Christianity, the number of Christians is 2.26 billion people, while Islam has 1.57 billion believers and 900 million profess Hinduism. Today, the Muslim community is growing faster than the community of adherents of any other religion and even faster than the population of the Earth as a whole and it has biological Социологическиеисследования 85 and social explanations. The main reason lies in the high birth rate in Muslim society, according to statistics for every woman there are 3.1 children. For comparison, it should be noted that in Germany there are 1.3 children for every woman, which is an extremely low indicator and threatens the survival of the nation. According to experts, such an indicator as 2.1 child per woman in German society could be sufficient to maintain the population [8]. Today, population growth in Europe is supported by migrants or European citizens with migration roots from Muslim countries where traditionally early marriages are customary and have many children. It is no coincidence that German Chancellor Angela Merkel, criticizing the activities of the PEGIDA movement, said that Islam is part of Germany, belongs to it, and a little later said that Germany is a country of migrants[12]. Representatives of the ideology of childfree (free from children), who do not want to have children at all for various reasons, also contribute to the decline in the number of indigenous people in Europe. The so-called voluntary childlessness has become fashionable in Europe in recent decades and significantly affects the demographic situation in the country. The adherents of the ideology of childfree complain that the opponents of this movement call them “social parasites” accuse them not only that a weak population growth will later affect their pensions, but Childfree is also indirectly accused of islamization of the West, since migrants give birth to many children, and Europeans refuse to bear childbirth. Islam will become a winner in the “demographic marathon” also because Muslims predominantly live in dynamic regions — Sub-Sahara-Africa or Southeast Asia, moreover, the Arab-Islamic communities are much younger than the Christian ones. For example: in Iran, 70 percent of the population, which is 75 million people — at the age of 25, the average age is 27 years. For comparison, the average German age is 43.7 years, and the Japanese have even 46.5. The director of the Pew Center for Religious Studies, Alan Kuperman, says: “The Muslim population is concentrated in those parts of the world that grow faster than all,” meaning Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and India. In India, according to the Pew Institute forecasts, despite the fact that most of the population now profess Hinduism, in 2050 there will be 310 million Muslims, more than in neighboring Pakistan. India will become a country with the largest number of Muslims. By 2050, the world’s population will be 9.3 billion people, including 2.8 billion Muslims and 2.9 billion Christians. According to today’s demographic dynamics, the Muslim population will grow by 73 percent, while the number of Christians, like the entire population of the earth, will grow by 35 percent [8]. These impressive figures, in the context of low fertility in Christian industrialized countries, China’s demographic policy and high fertility in the Arab-Islamic countries, seem quite convincing. The aging Japanese society, with the same low birth rate as in Europe, according to experts, by 2050 will amount to only 90 million, which is 30 million less than today. The number of countries where the majority of the population is Christians, will change from 159 to 151. Every tenth resident of Germany by 2050 will be a Muslim. With a projected population of 70 million, there will be 7 million German Muslims living in the country, for comparison, it should be noted that in 2010, every 17th resident of Germany was a Muslim. Almost a quarter of Europeans, namely, 23 percent, will be atheists by 2050. In 2050, Great Britain will become the country with the largest Muslim community (7.76 million believers) after Turkey and Russia, followed by France — 7.54 million and Germany.

The African countries, located to the south of the Sahara, represent the most powerful and fast-growing Islamic region. By the middle of the century, every fourth Muslim of the ten living on the planet will live there. In Nigeria, there will no longer be a Christian majority, however, despite the above facts, Nigeria, along with the United States and Brazil, will remain the country with the largest number of Christian populations. According to Alan Cooper, this research is the most ambitious. Scientists have considered such factors as data on fertility and mortality, migration and religious reorientation, on the basis of which conclusions and forecasts were made. Wars, epidemics, scientific discoveries, economic and political crises, natural disasters can affect the outlook for the development of religions, but despite all these factors the numerical advantage of Muslims over Christians will be undeniable [8].


Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West



It is clear why the Europeans are so afraid of islamization of the West, they are afraid of losing their cultural identity themselves, dissolve in this rapid flow of new cultures seeking to impose their ideology, worldview on Europeans and a way of life. An example of this may be neighborhoods in European cities where they have long lived under Sharia law, parallel communities where the laws of blood feud exist and do not obey the laws of the host country. All this represents a threat to the cultural security of modern Europeans and that is why the idea of the PEGID movement (proprogressive Europeans against the islamization of the West), which is opposed to the presence of migrants in Europe in abundance, became such an understandable and intimate one. Particular attention is worthy of certain provisions of their manifesto. According to the first paragraph of the manifesto, PEGIDA supports the fact that the country accepts refugees because of military conflicts, as well as people persecuted for political or religious reasons, since it is the duty of any person to help those who find themselves in a similar situation. A striking example is the statement of the Polish Prime Minister Eva Konach that the country is ready to receive refugees from the Christian faith [20]. The ninth paragraph of the manifesto states that PEGIDA stands for zero tolerance towards those migrants and refugees who committed the crime. PEGIDA also advocates migration, but modeled after Switzerland, Australia, Canada and South Africa, as well as the preservation of the established ChristianJewish culture in Europe. Here we should remember the statement of the director of one of the gymnasiums in Bavaria, who strongly recommends that her school girls not wear mini skirts, do not consider and do not photograph refugees, as this can provoke them [19]. PEGIDA also opposes radicalism in any of its forms: political or religious, and against preaching religious hatred regardless of religion. PEGIDA against admitting in its society the existence of parallel societies, Sharia courts and Sharia police. Looking at these positive provisions of the manifesto of the PEGID movement, one can become sympathetic to this movement, since everything they say corresponds to the basic needs of a person who wants to live in his country peacefully and not dissolve in the flow of foreign cultures. Russian citizens who know about the current situation from the media are not entirely clear why the government and members of the public are against this movement. To better understand the situation around the PEGID movement in Europe, the authors interviewed citizens of European countries, such as Germany, the Czech Republic, France and Austria. Absolutely all respondents spoke out against the movement of PEGIDA. Among the negative statements there was a comparison with fascism, many denied the existence or widespread prevalence of the movement in their countries, arguing that all this exists only in the Internet communities and has no real power, arguing that all this is only in Germany and there it represents a real threat. Eyewitnesses of the demonstrations described their sense of discomfort from what they saw, as the participants in the movement inspired hatred towards foreigners. According to many respondents, the German-language press gives information that the leaders of the movement are former criminals, drug addicts or hooligans. The PEGIDA movement is very active not only on the streets of large cities, where a large number of migrants live, conducting demonstrations and setting fire to houses for refugees, but also involving parties in social networks.


Research results



According to a study conducted by the authors there are 52 communities on the Facebook social network dedicated to the PEGIDA movement, supporting and propagating the activity and ideology of this movement, and only 5 communities called Anti-Pegda or similar variants. However the number of fans of these communities is not significant, for example, one of the co-societies that express a negative attitude towards the PEGIDA movement is called “Together Against Hate to Foreigners”. Virtual communities of PEGIDA count from 500 participants to 157 000 and represent different countries, continents or major European cities, for example: PEGIDA Great Britain — 20 868 participants, PEGDA Australia — 5114 participants, PEGIDA Scandinavia — 3457 participants, PEGIDA Hamburg — 3536, PEGIDA Vienna — 10 382, PEGIDA Graz — 2764, PEGIDA Hanno — 5592, PEGIST Stuttgart — 3426. There is also PEGIDA in Poland, the Czech Republic, Canada, Iceland and even India. The exception is France, a country with a marginal tolerance for migrants. Residents of Europe do not see anything special in such a high number of participants in the Internet communities of PEGIDA, explaining their lack of fear that these societies are only virtual. In the opinion of the respondents, it is absolutely possible to talk and write on the Internet about everything. That does not mean that such statements can reflect the real state of affairs. Speaking against the PEGIDA movement and also against the dominance of migrants in their countries the Europeans express their sympathy for them despite the threat of their cultural security, because Europe has long become motley in ethnic terms and citizens with migratory past have inhabited these countries for many years. Many Europeans in no way can support the PEGID movement because of the fact that there are Muslims whom they know well among their friends, relatives and neighbors. A vivid illustration of the position of the Europeans, despite the inconveniences that they experience from the presence of migrants in their countries, is quite common today in Germany and has become especially popular in recent times, an adage that is replicated on postcards and posters that can be found everywhere: “your car is Japanese, your pizza is Italian, your coffee is Brazilian, your vodka is Russian, your carpet is Persian, your Jesus is a Jew, your democracy is Greek, your vacation Turkish, Croatian, Spanish, Albanian, Bulgarian. And you’re still saying: foreigners — get out!”





Any person irrespective of national, ethnic and religious affiliation is able to lose some part of the sow of identity in the process of migration. However, it is unlikely that migration can lead to a complete change of identity. It is this that largely determines the problems associated with migration processes. The management of migration and integration processes are the key social regulatory mechanisms to overcome the challenges posed by migration, as well as the determining factors controlling the inflows and outflows of populations in various countries. However, it is clear that it is senseless to call for a total cessation of the reception of migrants and the complete elimination of foreigners living in the receiving country with the aim, for example, of eliminating competition in the labor market. The policy of any state facing the problem of migration should be aimed at harmonizing relations between the native inhabitants of the country and visitors and changing attitudes towards the nation and citizenship. Obviously, migration is not only the threats and challenges faced by the people and government of the receiving state, but also the result of the openness of the society and the possibility of its cultural, social and economic enrichment.





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