Governing Ethnic (In)equality in Europe: Colour-blind versus Colour-conscious Policy Frames in Belgium and Germany

This PhD project explores how ethno-racial inequalities are governed within European societies through public policies. Considering the growing share of people with a migration background among the citizenry of West-European countries and a call for the ‘mainstreaming’ of integration concerns into general policy areas, it argues for a shift in focus from newcomers to citizens with a migration background and from migrant integration policies to equality policies. The project focuses on policies in the fields of education and employment in Belgium and Germany from 2000 to 2019. By means of a critical frame analysis (Verloo, 2005; Dombos et al., 2012) of policy documents, the first part of the research analyses the different framings of ethnic (in)equality as a policy problem in the cases under analysis. The resulting policy frames are further verified and complemented with data collected in semi-structured interviews with civil servants and civil society representatives. The second part of the research adopts a comparative analysis and aims to explain differences and similarities in trends towards certain policy frames between the different countries and policy fields. The explanatory factors behind the different policy frames identified in the document analysis, are searched for through a comparison of the cases under analysis and refined with the help of the interviews. In this way, the project can provide new insights into current policy frames and trends as regards the governance of ethno-racial inequalities in Europe.