Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation — Out Now

The book of the Taking Sides project is out now as an e-book: “Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation“. It’s open access, so there’s no reason not to read it!

This comparative project examines protest against deportations in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. In some ways, it is a follow-up to the FP-7 project Support and opposition to Migration (SOM), where we examined the politicization of immigration more widely. The politicization of asylum, and particularly politicization in favour of asylum seekers and against their deportation was not treated much in SOM. Taking Sides includes an extensive media analysis of newspapers in the three countries, alongside many in-depth case studies. My contribution was more on the quantitative analysis of the media study, and in chapter 5 we summarize similarities and differences across the three countries, 1993 to 2013. We show that the frequency of anti-deportation protests has developed differently in the three countries, and outline a shift in the main actors in these protests, and with that a shift in repertoires. There’s a clear uptake in failed asylum seekers (potential deportees) to participate in these protests.

We differentiate between solidarity protest and case-specific protests as different kinds of protests. This is a slightly different vocabulary to what my colleagues Johanna Probst and Dina Bader used in their Social Movement Studies paper which draws heavily on the case studies. Overall we find little evidence that there is a transnational movement orchestrating protests against deportations, with many local protests seemingly taking place independently of each other. While some of these protests are also against deportations more generally, many of them focus entirely on the case at hand. The protest is not against deportations, but against the deportation of a particular asylum seeker who is considered ‘integrated’ and ‘deserving’ to stay.

The book includes chapters that outline the context of the protests: across countries, and across time within these countries, focusing on political institutions or legal changes. One of the chapters asks what makes a successful protest against deportation, pushing it quite hard what can be said with the data at hand. We don’t have a research design that would allow a systematic comparison between successful and unsuccessful cases, but the qualitative case studies offer some useful pointers where more rigorous research should start. What’s also intriguing is that the difference between successful and unsuccessful protests is not clear cut if one follows the cases over time. It is not uncommon for individuals to be deported (i.e. unsuccessful protest), yet the individual returning at a later stage (i.e. successful in preventing the long-term deportation). The qualitative data also provide insights on the strategies actors use in protesting against the deportation of asylum seekers, with several chapters outlining particular protests in detail.

Probst, Johanna, and Dina Bader. 2018. ‘When Right-Wing Actors Take Sides with Deportees. A Typology of Anti-Deportation Protests’. Social Movement Studies.

Ruedin, Didier, Sieglinde Rosenberger, and Nina Merhaut. 2018. ‘Tracing Anti-Deportation Protests: A Longitudinal Comparison of Austria, Germany and Switzerland’. In Protest Movements in Asylum and Deportation, 89–115. IMISCOE Research Series. Springer. Some supplementary analsis here:

Why religion? – Now Published

APWe used to call it ‘Why Muslims’ because in the context of contemporary immigration in Western Europe religion and Islam are hardly distinguishable. This analysis of data from the SOM project now published at Acta Politica asks when politicians focus on immigrants as Muslims — rather than say national or cultural-ethnic groups.

Joost Berkhout and I find that Muslim-related claims-making is associated with the parliamentary presence of anti-immigrant parties and the policy topic under discussion. Yes, while work by Sieglinde Rosenberger and Sarah Meyer using the same data as we do, generally find a limited role of anti-immigrant parties in politicizing immigration, when it comes to Muslims, they seem to play an important role. By contrast, the evidence for policy-oriented and socio-structural explanations is inconclusive for claims-making highlighting the religion of immigrants.

New Paper on Muslim Immigrant Groups as Objects of Political Claims

Our paper on Muslim immigrants as objects of political claims on immigration is finally available online. It started as an exercise to get to know the data from the SOM project and grew from there. In the paper, Joost Berkhout and I examine under which circumstances politicians differentiate among immigrants, and specifically when they in focus on Muslim immigrants rather than national or other groups in some countries. We draw on a political claims analysis 1995 to 2009 in 7 Western European countries. We find that Muslim-related claims-making is associated with the parliamentary presence of anti-immigrant parties and the policy topic under discussion.

There is supplementary material on Dataverse, where we examine claims on asylum seekers (alternative specification) and present the main actors and positions towards Muslim immigrants.

Berkhout, Joost, and Didier Ruedin. 2016. “Why Religion? Immigrant Groups as Objects of Political Claims on Immigration and Civic Integration in Western Europe, 1995–2009.” Acta Politica. doi:10.1057/ap.2016.1.

The Politicisation of Migration: Out Now

9781138852792I’m very happy to announce that the book The Politicisation of Migration is finally out! The book unites work from all researchers involved in the SOM project and examines how and to what extent immigration has become politicised in the seven SOM countries between 1995 and 2009. With a joint theoretical frame on politicization and de-politicization, the book goes beyond mapping variations across countries and time.

This edited volume addresses questions like: Why are migration policies sometimes heavily contested and high on the political agenda? And why do they, at other moments and in other countries, hardly lead to much public debate? The entrance and settlement of migrants in Western Europe has prompted various political reactions. We find that in some countries anti-immigration parties have gained substantial public support while in others migration policies have been hardly controversial.

Media Quality and Claims-Making about Immigration

When we present results from the SOM project on the politicization of immigration, we often get comments that media quality will have a big impact on our results. The intuition is that high-quality (broadsheet) outlets cover the debate in a fundamentally different way than low-quality (tabloid) newspapers.

In anticipation of potential differences, we sampled newspaper articles from both broadsheet and tabloid papers. In most instances we find very little difference, apparently in line with Koopmans, but judge yourself:

Here’s the topic of the claim, divided into immigration and integration:

ISSUE Broadsheet Tabloid
Immigration 49.8% 48.0%
Integration 50.2% 52.0%

Here is the justification of the claim (“frame”):

FRAME Broadsheet Tabloid
Instrumental 56.2% 62.1%
Identity 11.8% 14.4%
Moral principles 32.0% 23.5%

And here the so-called object actor (who would be affected by the claim?):

OBJECTACT Broadsheet Tabloid
Unspecified 1.7% 2.7%
Organized 9.5% 10.8%
Migration-related groups in society 86.5% 82.2%
Other groups in society 2.3% 4.3%