Acta Politica

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 156–178 | Cite as

Why religion? Immigrant groups as objects of political claims on immigration and civic integration in Western Europe, 1995–2009

  • Joost Berkhout
  • Didier Ruedin
Original Article


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.


Muslims immigration politicization claims-making Western Europe 


Supplementary material

41269_2016_8_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (42 kb)
supplementary material


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joost Berkhout
    • 1
  • Didier Ruedin
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  3. 3.University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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