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Out now: Politicising immigration in times of crisis

Swen Hutter and Hanspeter Kriesi

News from Feb 10, 2021

in: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (jems) | Open Access | Link to article

Abstract
The article examines the politicisation of immigration in Europe during the so-called migration crisis. Based on original media data, it traces politicisation during national election campaigns in 15 countries from the 2000s up to 2018. The study covers Northwestern (Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland), Central-Eastern (Hungary, Poland, Latvia, and Romania), and Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain). We proceed in three interrelated steps. First, we show that the migration crisis has accentuated long-term trends in the politicisation of immigration. The issue has been particularly salient and polarised in Northwestern Europe but also in the latest Italian, Hungarian, and Polish campaigns. Second, radical right parties are still the driving forces of politicisation. The results underscore that the radical right not only directly contributes to the politicisation of immigration but triggers other parties to emphasize the issue, too. Third, we observe a declining ‘marginal return’ of the migration crisis on the electoral support of the radical right, and we confirm previous studies by showing that an accommodating strategy by the centre-right contributes to the radical right’s success, provided the centre-right attributes increasing attention to immigration.

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