Reblog: How one sporting gesture helped curb ethnic discrimination

Back in 2018, Daniel Auer and Didier Ruedin were conducting a research experiment on prejudice in the Swiss housing market. That same summer, a footballer at the FIFA World Cup made a controversial gesture that got the nation talking. After he did so, our researchers observed a significant drop in ethnic discrimination. Were the two phenomena connected?

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Auer, Daniel, and Didier Ruedin. 2022. ‘How One Gesture Curbed Ethnic Discrimination’. European Journal of Political Research. DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12547

Out now: How one gesture curbed ethnic discrimination

Can a single gesture really reduce ethnic discrimination in the housing market? In very specific situations, it does indeed appear so! In an article out now at the European Journal of Political Research, jointly with Daniel Auer, we combine a natural experiment with a controlled field experiment to show that after the controversial double-headed Eagle gesture by Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Stephan Lichtsteiner led to lower levels of discrimination in the Swiss housing market for at least 3 months — that’s when our observations end.

We discuss the enormous attention the gesture got, but also what made the situation so special: a discussion of double loyalties, immigrant integration, etc. in a positive context. While research has focused on the drivers of exclusion and discrimination, here we hope to contribute something that helps us understand how to counter these negative factors.

Auer, Daniel, and Didier Ruedin. 2022. ‘How One Gesture Curbed Ethnic Discrimination’. European Journal of Political Research. DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12547

Invented, invited and instrumentalised spaces: conceptualising non-state actor engagement in regional migration governance in West Africa

I’m happy to announce a new publication by Amanda Bisong, with whom I had the pleasure to collaborate as part of the Swiss Subsaharan Africa Migration Network.

The article looks at how non-state actors are involved in regional migration policy processes in ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States). Different types of actors are differentiated: NGO, civil society organizations, academia, and the media, which reminds me very much of the work we do on the politicization of migration elsewhere. Amanda Bisong uses interviews in conjunction with survey results and an extensive analysis of policy documents to demonstrate how spaces are constructed and instrumentalized by different actors. Overall, non-state actors reinforce regional policies and help circumvent restrictive national agendas with innovative regional approaches.

Bisong, Amanda. 2021. “Invented, Invited and Instrumentalised Spaces: Conceptualising Non-State Actor Engagement in Regional Migration Governance in West Africa.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 0(0):1–19. doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2021.1972570.

Parallel Universes

Two recent books examine the politiclization of migration in the news in Europe. It’s great to see different takes on this important topic, but having contributed to an earlier similar study with an extensive study of how the media report immigration, it struck me how much we’re working in parallel universes. The excellent REMINDER project managed to go 3 years without discovering the work by Van der Brug et al., the equally excellent TransSOL project did find it. Both H2020 projects start in 2015, after the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, whereas Van der Brug et all covered 1995 to 2009. Should we count this as a failure to publicize the work, or are we simply looking at parallel universes where each universe prolifically produces new knowledge…?

Cinalli, Manlio, Hans-Jörg Trenz, Verena K. Brändle, Olga Eisele, and Christian Lahusen. 2021. Solidarity in the Media and Public Contention over Refugees in Europe. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York : Routledge, 2021.

Strömbäck, Jesper, Christine E. Meltzer, Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Christian Schemer, and Hajo G. Boomgaarden. 2021. Media and Public Attitudes Toward Migration in Europe: A Comparative Approach. Routledge.

Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

Sociology of Migration in Switzerland: There is (of course) more…!

When we provided an account of the sociology of migration in Switzerland for the special issue in the Swiss Journal of Sociology, we were aware that we could not provide an exhaustive account. Space limitations do not allow this. Although we mentioned that “Given the profusion of research, our account will not be exhaustive and will invariably omit many important contributions.”, such a disclaimer never does justice to these who inadvertently are left out.

Heinz Bonfadelli was very kind to point out an excellent summary from the perspective of communication sciences, discussing amongst others the important role of Kurt Imhof at the University of Zurich. The focus of the chapter is on media representations, an important topic in sociology and communication sciences. With a more specific focus, the chapter can trace different thinking much more carefully.

Bonfadelli, Heinz, and Annelies Debrunner. 2019. ‘Migration und Medien – Ausländer und Minderheiten als Fremde’. Pp. 245–62 in Wandel der Öffentlichkeit und der Gesellschaft, edited by M. Eisenegger, L. Udris, and P. Ettinger. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Chimienti, Milena, Claudio Bolzman, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Sociology of Migration in Switzerland: Past, Present and Future’. Swiss Journal of Sociology 47(1):7–26. doi: https://doi.org/10.2478/sjs-2021-0004.