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Immigrant Political Activism: Political Opportunities, Group Resources, and Inter-Ethnic Context

Friday May 15, 2015, from 14:00 to 16:00
Room 24.023 - Mercè Rodoreda Building (1st Floor)
Research seminar

This study analyzes variations in immigrants’ political activism by focusing on Turkish immigrants and their organizations in Germany and France. The existing literature prioritizes either immigrants’ group-based resources or host countries’ institutional structures as determinants of immigrants’ political mobilization and participation in their host country politics. While these studies provide rich accounts on internal and external political opportunities for immigrants’ political activism, they fall short of explaining when and how immigrant groups mobilize on available political opportunities and become active participants in host country politics. This study contributes to the current literature by exploring the role of host country inter-ethnic context and the way that immigrant groups perceive their status there. The findings of this research show that immigrant groups who see themselves as holding a disadvantaged position in their host country’s inter-ethnic context are more willing to become politically active and improve their perceived disadvantaged position compared to other groups. On the other hand, immigrant groups who perceive themselves to occupy a higher position in host-country’s inter-ethnic context feel less of an incentive to become politically active and instead prefer to maintain their distinction from other immigrant groups who have been actively combating against social inequalities and discrimination.