What is it about?

We examine how politicians, parties, governments, NGO, etc. talk about immigration and immigrants during economic crises. The data come from a large-scale analysis of newspapers, covering the oil crisis of the 1970s and the financial crisis of the late 2010s, along with periods not defined as crises. We find that the way we talk about immigrants during crises differs: we talk more about migration (salience), and take polarized positions on the topic. The statements and arguments made about migration refer more often to identity.

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Why is it important?

We show that economic crises are moments when the role of immigrants in society is re-negotiated. At these moments, we need to make sure that the rights of migrants are protected, and they are not blamed.


I greatly enjoyed thinking about how to deal with the fact that no precise definition of the crisis periods exist, and how this led us to fully embrace uncertainty about the results. Despite this, we can see clear results in some areas.

Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

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This page is a summary of: Politicising immigration in times of crisis: empirical evidence from Switzerland, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, July 2021, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/1369183x.2021.1936471.
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