Beyond ideology-a comparative analysis of how local governance can expand national integration policy: the case of Syrian refugees in Istanbul

Memisoglu F., Yavcan B.

JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES, vol.48, no.3, pp.503-523, 2022 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/1369183x.2020.1819780
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Geobase, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.503-523
  • Keywords: Refugees, integration, multi-level governance, Turkey, public policy, POLITICS
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Integration policy has been shown to have implications beyond acculturation and adaptation of refugees to the host society, extending to social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. While most studies focus on state-centred structural or ideological variables in explaining integration policy across countries, variation between local-level policy practices illustrate there is more to integration policy than national level-factors. Following the literature on the local turn in integration studies, the proposed study aims to look beyond the national level explanations and common accounts for local level variation, such as income level or ideological orientation. Instead, less investigated factors are identified based on two district municipalities of Istanbul (Sultanbeyli and Sisli) in an attempt to illustrate the multi-level character of their similar immigrant integration policies. Upon discussing the national and local policy contexts for refugee integration, policy processes of these two distinct municipalities will be unpacked to find what they have in common, using a 'most different systems' comparative design. Based on in-depth interviews with local-level policy actors, this study unveils potential reasons for their highly inclusive integration policy grounded in their multi-level networks.