Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?


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The second section of the book deals with two issues related to political participation and civic engagement. First, Chapter 4 concentrates on the concept of identity. Here relevant literature will be examined and close attention will be paid to the process of identity construction and its potential relevance as a constraint on political participation. This chapter also embraces a more descriptive section on political participation and on previous explanations for the relatively lower political involvement and turn-out of migrant groups in the two countries.

This is followed by a critique and evaluation of these studies in which I argue that they fail to properly incorporate the notion of state system and particular structural settings for the explanation of why many migrants choose not to get involved in political life. Building on the arguments of the previous two chapters, this chapter posits, first, that identity should not be seen as a movement along a horizontal Introduction 7 axis in which competing identities eventually tend to be mutually exclusive, but should rather be perceived as being in a constant state of flux.

Second, the construction of identity and its subsequent expression can thus be constrained or facilitated by, predominantly, external settings in the political environment. This argument is complemented both by findings from quantitative data stemming from a questionnaire survey and by more qualitative material.

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These interviews are of two types. The first type comprises interviews with respondents who are or have been actively involved in their respective ethnic associations, either on the board or as a representative. The second comprises interviews conducted with members of the association who are not active in the same way as the interviewees in the first category. The aim is here to establish, on the one hand, how the specific association deals with notions of identity within the framework of voluntary organisations and, second, how individual members relate to the host society.

This chapter is limited to the Swedish and Dutch case due to the unique nature of the empirical material described in more detail below. Second, Chapter 5 exemplifies how prevailing institutional settings affect the role of ethnic associations within a civil society framework in terms of their potential as channels for ethnic claims-making. The sixth and final chapter concludes the book by presenting and summarising the main arguments, and relating the theoretical components to the empirical data.

Conclusions from the previous chapters are outlined, compared and reviewed.

This chapter also includes an evaluation of how the theoretical and empirical elements have managed to answer the original research questions. Data retrieval Statistical material Quantitative material is derived from three sources. The targeted groups where chosen according to two criteria — reason for migrating and geographical origin. However, even the common groups are by no means homogenous: there are 8 Migration Policies and Political Participation a number of differences in terms of regional origin, individual reason for migrating, education, and so forth.

EU immigration: Tortured for trying to enter Europe

The Turkish communities in the Netherlands are by and large labour migrants. They constitute a significant proportion of the Rotterdam population around 10 per cent as well as being a major ethnic group in the Netherlands as a whole. The situation for the Iranian community in the two cities is the opposite. The other two groups involved in the study, Chileans and Surinamese, have been chosen according to other criteria.

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The Chileans are refugees stemming from another global geographical location and having a different length of stay, whilst the Surinamese as the Turks constitute an ethnic minority within Dutch society as a consequence of being colonial migrants. In terms of how migrants figure as part of the total population, Sweden has 1,, However, given that naturalisation rates are high and accessible, the number of foreign nationals if counted separately comes down to , 4. Naturalisation rates have however gone down since , from 43, to 33, in whereas net migration increased slightly in the same period from 24, to 28, SCB, In the Netherlands, persons with a foreign background amounted to 3,, Net migration has however dropped dramatically in recent years, from 53, in to a negative — in Naturalisation rates in the Netherlands show a similar decline as in Sweden, from 50, in to 45, in Migration Information, a.

The three contrasting cases display similar large-scale immigration history but with different ethnic compositions and patterns of migration. France, Germany and Britain all sponsored foreign immigration due to labour shortages from the s up until the mids when restrictive migration controls were introduced. France has nevertheless had a positive rate of net migration, rising from 95, in to , in In , the total number of immigrants Introduction 9 i. Naturalisation rates have gone up from the mids with , persons acquiring French citizenship in compared to , in but average around 2 per cent.

Its illegal to register the previous nationality of naturalised foreigners or classify them according to ethnic group which makes it difficult to separate statistics on migrants. Even though official statistics are not available on specific migrant groups it is still possible to determine the dominant migrant and ethnic groups.

Judging by the historical patterns of migration to France one can identify the main migrant groups, as defined by country of birth, to be Portuguese and Algerians both around , or 8 per cent followed by Moroccans, Italians and Spanish but with an increase in migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and South-East Asia Schnapper et al. Germany displays a rise in the level of foreigners until despite conditions of a negative net migration in recent years; out of a population of around 75 million, just over 7 million 9.

The main migrant group, by far, are the Turks 25 per cent followed by Italians 8 per cent , ex-Yugoslavs 7 per cent , Greeks 5 per cent and Poles 4 per cent Federal Statistical Office Germany, ; Koopmans and Statham, Britain has had steady positive net migration rates since the mids and especially so since when rates went up from 46, to , Compared to previous years, net migration has been varied with periods of negative rates contrasted with years of relatively high rates.

The number of foreign nationals have increased and did in account for almost 4 per cent of the total population 2,, out of 58,, However, as Koopmans and Statham point out, this figure underestimates the size of the minority populations since naturalisation legislation is relatively liberal and a large proportion are second and even third generation born in the UK. Further specifics for each country are discussed in more detail in Chapter 2. First, the aim was to establish the demographic and socio-economic positions of the respective migrant groups in Sweden and in the Netherlands in terms of age, gender, place of birth of respondents and their parents, marital status, education, area of residence, accommodation type and ownership, current and former occupation.

Second, an identification scale was constructed.

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It is important to stress that this term is not used as an equivalent to the concept of integration. Elsewhere, the latter has been adopted for its suitability in that it encompasses a variety of similar, more precise, partial or politically unfashionable terms such as incorporation, absorption, accommodation, toleration or inclusion3 Grillo, Given that this book aims to explore varying levels of political participation, the purpose of introducing the identification term is to test or apply its relevance for providing a more extensive explanation as to why or why not certain migrant groups choose to participate politically.

This part of the questionnaire consists of questions that attempt to measure this degree of identification with the host society. The identification scale has been divided into two sections — internal and external identification. The respondents were asked to grade a series of seven statements according to their preferences. The second component of the identification scale concerned external identification.

Here, the aim was to establish a sense of how the respondents believed members of the majority population perceived the respondents. Depending on which definition one chooses, the number, composition and target groups expand or contract. In the Dutch case this is particularly confusing since there are a number of migrants from former Dutch colonies who up until independence and in some cases for a probation period afterwards were Dutch citizens and born on Dutch territory and were thus entitled to travel freely within the Kingdom.

The most common definition applied within Swedish and Dutch statistics defines the population with a foreign heritage as born abroad or having at least one parent the Netherlands or both parents Sweden born abroad. The answers to the seven statements were given a score between 1 and 5, which gives an identification index ranging from 7 lowest level of identification to 35 highest level of identification.

The line of thought is — the higher the score of internal and external identification, that is, the more the respondents feels 1 strongly attached to the new community and 2 believes that the majority population perceives the respondents to be a legitimate member of the new society, the more likely he or she will be able to take part in various forms of political participation.

Third, the questionnaire posed a series of more encompassing questions regarding the degree and types of political participation.

Migration Policies and Political Participation : Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?

These included questions relating to the satisfaction that the surveyed groups had with the performance of their local municipality in terms of policies that are directly aimed at them as a minority or migrant group Fennema and Tillie, In addition to the traditional questions of voting levels and voting preference, the purpose was to map out how the migrant respondents made use of a variety of channels in order to obtain information on local and national issues.

It was therefore of importance to pose questions relating to interest in local and national politics, and to what extent, and what type of, organised, political activities the respondents took part in. Previous surveys done in Sweden and the Netherlands have tended to focus primarily on voting levels and party preference and to ignore, as far as the author is aware of, the concept of identification in relation to these concepts. It should be highlighted that the reader should view these figures cautiously since the questionnaire material did not generate sufficient returns in order to be fully representative and statistically reliable, therefore they should be viewed as indicative rather than conclusive pointing to a possible relationship between the two concepts.

Consequently, the research will use these findings to initially map out a sense of the level of identification and also to cross-check voting levels with national surveys. The figures available show a remarkable downward trend especially in local voting levels — available for all legally resident nonnationals after three years Sweden and five years of residence the Netherlands — but do not take into account the individuals who would belong to the particular group due to national origin.

Therefore, my questionnaire survey does not distinguish between the naturalised and the non-naturalised migrants belonging to each group. The questionnaire distribution and return ratios are summarised in Table 1. For linguistic reasons, more in-depth interviews were conducted in Sweden — a total of 52 — compared to 34 in the Dutch case.

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The interviews were set up according to a semi-structured technique with identical thematic questions prepared for each group. The first category of respondents were elite in character, that is, individuals or groups of individuals with the ability to exercise some sort of power or influence over decision-making. In the Swedish case, at least two representatives were interviewed from each of the major parties.

One party was left out of the interview process, the Agrarian Party Centerpartiet , since they failed to gain any seats in the local municipality since The number of interviews with each party, and their ethnic and gender distribution, are set out in Table 1. In the Dutch case, representatives from all the major parties5 were contacted. The number of interviewees was less compared to the Swedish case as well as displaying an overrepresentation of male politicians 13 male and 3 female.

In combination with a higher frequency of male councillors and the dominance of white Dutch in the city council, this provides the setting for the gender and ethnicity division see Table 1. The remaining respondents were as follows: 1. Respondents, either ethnic Swedes or ethnic Dutch, whose main political interest lay in immigration-related topics or who worked specifically with Introduction 13 Table 1.

Respondents who had a foreign heritage A set of questions or themes was prepared beforehand which were identical for all respondents in the respective category, and structured around the following four themes: 1.

Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe? Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?
Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe? Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?
Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe? Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?
Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe? Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?
Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe? Migration Policies and Political Participation: Inclusion or Intrusion in Western Europe?

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