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Title: Diversity amidst Nationalism: Anti-immigrant sentiment and democratic inclusion in Europe and the United States
Authors: Thorkelson, Saul Ruben
Advisors: Massey, Douglas S
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: democracy
political incorporation
Subjects: Sociology
European studies
Ethnic studies
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Migration has led to two competing changes in American and European electorates: an increasing share of ethnic minorities, and growing sympathy for far-right, anti-immigrant populist parties. Despite this, political incorporation remains an under-theorized dimension of the processes by which immigrants and natives interact to form shared societies. In the context of rising anti-immigrant sentiment, how do young adults from migrant families enter the political arena? What relationship exists between the political climate vis-à-vis immigration and their willingness to engage in domestic politics? I seek to examine the consequences of anti-immigrant sentiment for migrant-origin minorities’ political behavior through quantitative and qualitative cross-national comparisons. I begin by using cross-national quantitative models to analyze data on political behaviors in the United States and 24 European countries. The results show that children of immigrants participate in formal and activist politics at rates on par with their native-origin peers, but vote at lower rates, holding socioeconomic and demographic characteristics constant. I demonstrate, further, that countries where foreign nationals are allowed more rights have higher rates of migrant minority political participation. Using a most-similar case approach, I compare political engagement among the second generation in Denmark, where the anti-immigration party is well established, and Sweden, where the far-right populist party was marginal until recently. Survey results show that Swedish political party youth wing members are more supportive of equal representation than their Danish peers, yet migrant minorities are underrepresented in youth wings in both countries. This is evidence that youth political organizations perpetuate unequal access to key sites of political socialization, although not always intentionally. Finally, in-depth interviews with 74 young adults in Stockholm and Copenhagen demonstrate that migrant minorities become alienated from mainstream electoral politics because they perceive mainstream parties as unwilling to address ethno-religious prejudice. Many of these young people find alternative strategies to promote social change, such as ethnic or religious organizations, or neighborhood volunteering. These studies demonstrate negative, if unforeseen, consequences of anti-immigration rhetoric: the politics of closed borders alienates minority citizens from democratic participation.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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