By Janna Fox, Mari Wesche, Doreen Bayliss, Liying Cheng, Carolyn E. Turner, Christine Doe, University of Ottawa Press
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Extra resources for Language Testing Reconsidered (Actexpress)
In addition to direct service provision by local authorities, some charitable organisations carried out social welfare tasks among migrants on behalf of local councils. The official attitude towards migrants’ organisations was that they were single-issue interest groups like so many other, and that they in some cases had a cultural and social function, giving the groups some coherence. Unlike in Britain, there was great reluctance to afford them any role in public policy. They were bypassed in terms of liaison and representation of interest through direct elections to the local foreigners’ committees, and they were given little if any government support for social projects.
Ethnic identity and ethnic characteristics are defined by contact and interaction between ethnic groups. Ethnicity is created as a result of the contrasting interests of such different groups, and it is used and manipulated by strong persons in the groups. The forms which ethnic identity takes, the cohesion within the ethnic group and its links to other ethnic communities, define community power. Ethnicity and cultural identity, therefore, are volatile and malleable, but also very powerful, ‘instruments’ for social interaction.
Initiatives during the last few years, when immigration and political asylum became prominent in public debate, moved assimilative ideas towards the centre of politics. The British Home Secretary David Blunkett (Labour), for example, in early 2002 proposed legislation that implied greater pressure to assimilate. Broadly speaking, the measures, rules and 22 European Chinese identity in the 1990s laws, administrative attitudes and policy statements as they exist in Europe today represent a mixture of integrationism and assimilationism, and cross-border comparisons indicate huge differences between countries.