The Politicisation of Migration.

Author:Maguire, Mark
Position:Book review
 
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The Politicisation of Migration Edited by Wouter van der Brug, Gianni D'Amato, Didier Ruedin, and Joost Berkhout London: Routledge, 2015, 250 pp.

The Politicisation of Migration is an effort to grapple with how political issues emerge and develop, especially immigration into Europe (the volume is actually about immigration, from asylum seekers to those classified as "coloured" in the United Kingdom). The collection of essays draws together conclusions derived from a European grant investigating how public opinion becomes public policy in different EU member states. In this regard, it is important to note that it is not an edited volume in the traditional sense, i.e., a volume that offers a spectrum of scholarly opinion on a topic. Rather, The Politicisation of Migration is a report on a research project with multiple contributors. This explains why the introduction is written as if the editors wrote each and every chapter, and it explains why chapter 2 indicates the methodology deployed throughout.

The study positions itself at the empirical end of comparative migration studies and seeks to examine politicization in former colonial countries with long histories of immigration (since the 1960s), namely the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium. The study also concerns itself with two countries with guest workers but "without a colonial past" (20), namely Austria and Switzerland, and two new immigrant hosts, Spain and Ireland. Elisions occur even here--though airbrushing is required to erase Austria's imperial past--in an effort to frame the topic as the study of the politicization of new immigration in a variety of member states. "Integration" is also a target of the research, and it is also worth noting that the data used in this study comprise claims made in mainstream newspaper articles. There is a technical section at the end of the book justifying this approach.

Chapter 3 discussed the politicization of immigration in Austria by analyzing the Kronen Zeitung tabloid and the left-leaning Der Standard. Over a fifteen-year period, according to the authors, the salience of immigration as a political issue increased in Austria, though discussions and claims were dominated by mainstream voices (apparently a "top-down" phenomenon). Chapter 4 discusses the politicization of immigration in Belgium. Of course, the authors have an especially interesting challenge here, considering Belgium's political and linguistic lines. The authors show...

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