Advertisement

French Politics

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 287–310 | Cite as

Ideological justifications for restrictive immigration policies: An analysis of parliamentary discourses on immigration in France and Canada (2006–2013)

  • Paul MayEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

In this paper, I analyze the parliamentary discourses on immigration in France and Canada from January 2006 to December 2013 in order to answer the question: What arguments are put forward in parliamentary arenas in order to justify more restrictive immigration policies? Despite their different models of integration and citizenship, France and Canada are facing very similar discussions, involving the same arguments and the same theoretical reflections. Critical discourse analysis shows that immigration is an extremely divisive issue in the political landscape: in both countries, right-wing political parties try to restrict in the name of economic imperatives, while left-wing political parties seek to establish more liberal policies. This finding goes against some studies, which argue that right-wing political parties, influenced by the neoliberal ideology, call for more open borders to immigration. Within the debates, references to national histories, models of integration, and civic values are not especially prominent, especially when compared with the omnipresent discourses of economics. The justifications for more restrictive immigration policies often reveal the dominant position of a global ideology prioritizing values of competitiveness and cost-effectiveness in an era of post-Fordist capitalism. The treatment of refugees, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants is a paradigmatic example of the trends I have identified. These kinds of immigrants are often at the heart of justifications for implementing restrictive measures. Our empirical material shows that Roma people are particularly targeted by these restrictions in both countries.

Keywords

immigrants immigration refugees Canada France parliamentary debates Roma left–right multiculturalism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Will Kymlicka (Queen’s University), Michel Wieviorka (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), and Alberto Spektorowski (Tel Aviv University) for their helpful comments on this article.

References

  1. Banting, K. and Courchene, Y. and Seidle, F. (2007) Belonging? Diversity, Recognition and Shared Citizenship in Canada. Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy.Google Scholar
  2. Banting, K. and Kymlicka, W. (2013) Multicultural Policies Index, http://www.queensu.ca/mcp/index.html.
  3. Bayley, P. (eds) (2004) Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parliamentary Discourse Hardcover. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub Co.Google Scholar
  4. Behdad, A. (2005) A Forgetful Nation: On Immigration and Cultural Identity in the United States. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernard, M. (2000) Post-fordism and global restructuring. In: R. Stubbs and G.R.D. Underhill (eds.) Political Economy and the Changing Global Order. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bourdieu, P. (2001) Langage et pouvoir symbolique. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  7. Castles, S. (2013) The forces driving global migration. Journal of Intercultural Studies 34(2): 122–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Choudhry, S. (2007) Does the world need more Canada – The politics of the Canadian model in constitutional politics and political theory. International Journal of Constitutional Law 5: 606–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Corbin, J. and Strauss, A.L. (2008) Basics of Qualitative Research: Grounded Theory Procedures and Techniques. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Favell, A. (2001) Philosophies of Integration, Second Edition: Immigration and the Idea of Citizenship in France and Britain. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Freeden, M. (2003) Ideology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Guy, W., Uherek, Z. and Weinerova, R. (2004) Roma Migration in Europe: Case Studies. London: Lit Verlag, Munster/Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick & London.Google Scholar
  13. Guillemette, F. (2006) L’approche de la Grounded Theory pour innover? Recherches Qualitatives 26(1): 32–50.Google Scholar
  14. Henry, F. and Tator, C. (2002) Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  15. Herbert, S. (2009) Contemporary geographies of exclusion II: lessons from Iowa. Progress in Human Geography 33: 825–832.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jacobs, D. (1998) Discourse, politics and policy: The Dutch parliamentary debate about voting rights for foreign residents. The International Migration Review 32(2): 350–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Joppke, C. (2004) The retreat of multiculturalism in the liberal state: Theory and policy. The British Journal of Sociology 55(2): 237–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koopmans, R. (2013a) Multiculturalism and immigration: A contested field in cross-national comparison. Annual Review of Sociology 39: 147–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koopmans, R. (2013b) Indices of immigrant rights. What have we learned, where should we go? In: Comparative European Politics, Volume 11, Issue 5; Special Issue “The Use and Misuse of Policy Indices in the Domain of Citizenship and Integration”, Maarten Peter Vink/Marc Helbling, S. (eds.), pp. 696–703.Google Scholar
  20. Koopmans, R., Michalowski, I. and Waibel, S. (2012) Citizenship rights for immigrants: National political processes and cross-national convergence in Western Europe, 1980–2008. American Journal of Sociology 117(4): 1202–1245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kymlicka, W. (2001) Politics in the Vernacular: Nationalism, Multiculturalism, Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kymlicka, W. (2007) The Canadian model of diversity in a comparative perspective. In: S. Tierney (ed.) Multiculturalism and the Canadian Constitution. Vancouver: UBC Pressé.Google Scholar
  23. Landis, J. R. and Kock, G. G. (1977) The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics 33(1): 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martin, S. (2011) A Nation of Immigrants. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX). (2013) http://www.mipex.eu/.
  26. Paltridge, B. 2006. Discourse Analysis: An Introduction. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  27. Pottie-Sherman, Y. (2013) Talent for citizenship and the American dream: the USA as outlier in the global race for talent. International Migration and Integration 14: 557–575.Google Scholar
  28. Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, D.R. and Archer, W. (2001) Assessing social presence in screen text-based computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education 14: 50–71.Google Scholar
  29. Schnapper, D. (2007) Qu’est-ce que l’intégration? Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  30. Van Dijk, T.A. (2000) On the analysis of parliamentary debates on immigration. In: M. Reisigl and R. Wodak (eds.) The Semiotics of Racism. Approaches to Critical Discourse Analysis. Vienna: Passagen.Google Scholar
  31. Vink, M. and Helbling, M. (2013) The use and misuse of policy indices in the domain of citizenship and integration. Comparative European Politics 11(5): 577–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Weil, P., Andreas, F. and Olivier, F. (2003) From Europe to North America, Migration Control in the Nineteenth Century, the Evolution of States Practices in Europe and the United States from the French Revolution to the Inter-War Period. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  33. Wodak, R. and Meyer, M. (2009) Methods for Critical Discourse Analysis (Introducing Qualitative Methods series). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  34. Yuvaci, A. (2013) The voting behavior of the European parliament members on Turkish accession: An analysis of the impact of member-state, European party groups and national party affiliations on a special status amendment vote for Turkey. Turkish Studies 14(3): 564–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

Personalised recommendations