Citizenship Regimes and the Politicization of Immigrant Groups

  • Didier Ruedin
  • Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, March 2017, Universitaet Innsbruck - Innsbruck University Press
  • DOI: 10.15203/ozp.1591.vol46iss1

How immigrants are debated in countries with different citizenship traditions

Photo by Agus Dietrich on Unsplash

Photo by Agus Dietrich on Unsplash

What is it about?

Immigrants and their integration are debated in the media. In this article, I examine how the debates on immigrants vary between countries with different citizenship regimes. To illustrate these differences, I focus on asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. Citizenship regimes are conceived as ethnic or civic. The debate on immigration and integration varies by citizenship regime. In countries with ethnic citizenship regimes, we find more debate about asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. I also demonstrate that the way immigrant groups are referred to in debates varies across citizenship regimes.

Why is it important?

Debates on immigrants and their integration vary across citizenship regimes: both which groups are debated and how they are referred to. This means that policies implemented in different countries are likely to differ as a result, and not because the affected immigrant groups would be substantively different.


Didier Ruedin
Universite de Neuchatel

I greatly enjoyed work on this paper as it demonstrates that the politicization of immigrants is constrained: political actors are not completely free in how they debate immigrants and their integration. In addition to say party ideology constraining the actions of politicians, this article points to broader constraints reflected in citizenship regimes.

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