The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party.

In a new paper with Leila Hadj Abdou, we examine the profile of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with regard to immigration. While we put a question mark in the title of the article, we conclude in the affirmative: Yes, we can consider the ÖVP an anti-immigrant party.

To reach this conclusion, we systematically examine the electoral manifestos of the party between 1994 and 2019 — following work I have done with Laura Morales. We can demonstrate that in the past the ÖVP held more ambiguous positions, but especially after 2017 the party has positioned itself more clearly against immigration, especially Muslim immigrants and their descendants as a ‘cultural other’ to the Austrian population. We argue that this change is due to the restructuring of the ÖVP into a leadership party.

Hadj-Abdou, Leila, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party?’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2019. ‘Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods’. Party Politics 25 (3): 303–14.

Burqa Ban in Switzerland? Gender Nativism

Janine Dahinden and Stefan Manser-Egli provide an analysis of the arguments put forward in favour of a burqa ban in Switzerland. Their conclusion: a clear case of gender nativism!

the idea that the ‘native’ Swiss are genuinely gender-equal and that only Swiss women can voluntarily wear the veil

Dahinden & Manser-Egli, 2021

The whole discussion actually bemuses me a bit: here’s a proposition to legislate a problem (according to the initiators) that mostly takes place outside of the country (also according to the initiators); and then there are the Pleureuses — a Swiss tradition in Romont FR — but these are natives… (see quote above) and explicitly exempt in the project going to the polls in March.

Les Pleureuses, nicked from, a website promoting this Swiss tradition.

Gendernativism in the (Il)Liberal State: The Burqa Ban in Switzerland

Correspondence Test Shows Discrimination by School Administrators

A new correspondence study from Denmark shows discrimination by school administrators against parents with ‘Muslim’ names. They sent letters to schools across the country to ask whether they could move their son to that particular school (implying that they were not happy with the current school). 25% of fathers with a ‘Danish’ name (i.e. Peter Nielsen) received a positive answer, compared with 15% of fathers with a ‘Muslim’ name (i.e. Mohammad Osman).

In addition to holding everything constant by using men only (fathers enquiring about their sons), they had a variation in whether the son was a ‘diligent’ student. An interesting qualitative detail is that ‘Muslims’ are more often subjected to additional questions by e-mail (simple questions like verifying they actually live in the catchment area), while the ‘Danes’ were more often asked to call.

I find it interesting that their point of reference were studies on discrimination by public officials (typically politicians), but did not reflect methodological innovations from other correspondence tests, like stimulus sampling (!), or considerations of unmatched designs. I find it disappointing to find that the pre-registration at EGAP leads to a “page not found” error, especially since footnote 1 contains this interesting teaser: “We diverge from the preregistration to limit our focus only to the two variables that were subject to experimental manipulation and causal inference rather than those conditional on posttreatment responses.”

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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.