Why religion? Immigrant groups as objects of political claims on immigration and civic integration in Western Europe, 1995–2009
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Under which circumstances do politicians differentiate among immigrants? When they do, why do they in some countries focus on Muslim immigrants rather than national or other groups? We use claims-making analysis to capture how immigrant groups are differentiated in seven Western European countries. As explanations for variation in claims-making about Muslim immigrants (1995–2009) we consider socio-structural and citizenship-regime differences across countries, the parliamentary presence of anti-immigrant parties, the 9/11 WTC attack and the direct political context in which claims-making occurs. We find that Muslim-related claims-making is associated with the parliamentary presence of anti-immigrant parties and the policy topic under discussion. By contrast, the evidence for policy-oriented and socio-structural explanations is inconclusive. There is a need for further theory development on the effects of the political debate (topics, arguments, actors) on (migrant-)group differentiation in particular and politicization in general.
KeywordsMuslims immigration politicization claims-making Western Europe
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