Political Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 477–505 | Cite as

The Ideological Effects of Framing Threat on Immigration and Civil Liberties

  • Gallya LahavEmail author
  • Marie Courtemanche
Original Paper


Assuming that migration threat is multi-dimensional, this article seeks to investigate how various types of threats associated with immigration affect attitudes towards immigration and civil liberties. Through experimentation, the study unpacks the ‘securitization of migration’ discourse by disaggregating the nature of immigration threat, and its impact on policy positions and ideological patterns at the individual level. Based on framing and attitudinal analysis, we argue that physical security in distinction from cultural insecurity is enough to generate important ideological variations stemming from strategic input (such as framing and issue-linkage). We expect then that as immigration shifts from a cultural to a physical threat, immigration issues may become more politically salient but less politicized and subject to consensus. Interestingly, however, the findings reveal that the effects of threat framing are not ubiquitous, and may be conditional upon ideology. Liberals were much more susceptible to the frames than were conservatives. Potential explanations for the ideological effects of framing, as well as their implications, are explored.


Immigration Security Ideology Threat Civil liberties 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceState University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceMarietta CollegeMariettaUSA

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