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Migration, citizenship and political participation 1

Wed July 7, 15:45 - 17:15, Session #27 panel | SC Migration, Citizenship and Political Participation


Sandra Morgenstern


Misperceptions of the foreign-born population size in European societies. The role of national discourse on immigration-related issues Jan-Philip Steinmann University of Goettingen Marcel Lubbers Utrecht University Many people are prone to misperceive the foreign-born population size of the total population living in their country. Considering the repeatedly demonstrated finding that not only people differ in their degree of misperceptions, but the extent of misperceptions also varies distinctly between countries, it is our purpose to contribute to the open question, how these between-country differences in misperceptions of the foreign-born population size come about. We argue that people are exposed to a certain national discourse on immigration in their country and expect this discourse to be consequential for the formation of (distorted) perceptions of the foreign-born population size. We provide theoretical reasoning why the national discourse on immigration-related issues, present in the political elite, the media, and the public, as a contextual influence should have an effect on individual (mis)perceptions. We differentiate between salience and valence of national discourses, and, thereby, examine whether the pure visibility of immigration-related discourse or the tone of it is responsible for inflated views on the foreign-born population size. Based on different data sources (Comparative Party Manifesto, European Social Survey media claims, and Eurobarometer), country-specific discourses are empirically mapped. These contextual-level data sources are combined with 2014 European Social Survey data, which provides the necessary individual-level data. Preliminary results of multilevel models show that in countries with predominantly inclusionary discourse on immigration-related issues by political elites, overestimation of the foreign-born population size living in these countries is less common. This finding points to the importance of national discourse in order to inform people about social realities. === CAN THE UN’S STATELESSNESS GLOBAL ACTION PLAN SUCCEED: A CASE STUDY ON MYANMAR. Katherine Pratt American Graduate School There are an estimated ten million stateless persons worldwide, meaning that these individuals are not recognized by any State legally and thus are not granted fundamental rights. One of the most prominent groups in the world that experience statelessness are the Rohingya from Myanmar. With more than a million stateless Rohingya still within Myanmar and 2.5 million around the world, the group has experienced widespread persecution and discrimination. The United Nations created a framework through the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness: 2014 – 2024 to resolve current situations of statelessness, prevent new cases from emerging and better protect stateless persons. This thesis analyzes whether the United Nations will succeed in eradicating statelessness by 2024 by asking the question: Can the UN’s Stateless Global Action Plan Succeed: a Case Study on Myanmar. Using two opposing theoretical frameworks, a traditional view of sovereignty advocated by Philip Cunliffe and a responsible view of sovereignty advocated by Amitai Etzioni, the research analyzes each individual action plan and its successes and failures in the State of Myanmar. Through looking at a specific state, this research is able to take a close look at the power of the international organization against the strength of domestic policies. The analysis of the ten stateless action plans in Myanmar provides evidence that the UN’s Global Action Plan, although within the realm of responsible sovereignty, may not be as powerful as the traditional view of sovereignty held in Myanmar. The implications of this research is that a supranational organization such as the United Nations is only as powerful as the individual state allows it to be, and that in order for there to be change in eradicating statelessness, it must fall onto the local people and government to implement it. === Empirical Understandings of Citizenship and Political Community: Internally Displaced Persons in the Democratic Republic of Congo Carolien Jacobs Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, Leiden Law School Nadia Sonneveld Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society, Leiden Law School Until recently, in citizenship studies the nation-state was reified as the most important political community. In the last two decades, empirical scholars have asserted that citizenship may include memberships in other political communities too. These studies, however, do not explain in detail what a political community is and their analyses remain within the citizen-noncitizen binary, defining the noncitizen as lacking formal membership in the nation-state. Our paper presents a new understanding of citizenship. It is based on fieldwork research on the rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the country hosting the largest number of IDPs worldwide. Data were gathered between 2014 and 2020. We argue that individuals always have memberships in multiple political communities and, as such, citizenship and noncitizenship are necessarily embodied in every human being. We compare the different memberships of internally displaced persons in what we claim are political communities not limited to the nation-state. Rather than the nation-state people usually resort to other political communities, of which the neighbourhood, the church and the ethnic group are important ones. Within these political communities, substantive citizenship rights, such as access to housing, education, and employment, are not automatically guaranteed but often depend on active participation. Recognition of the value of displaced persons’ multiple citizenships, that is to say, their membership in different political communities could be an important step in enhancing our knowledge of the ways in which IDPs and migrants in general navigate the spaces they inhabit. === Can Local Policies Shake Up Internal State Borders? The Role of the ‘Cities for Change’ in Protecting Irregular Migrants in Spain Keina Espiñeira Research Group in the Sociology of International Migration (ESOMI), University of A Corunna (Spain) Belén Fernández Suárez Research Group in the Sociology of International Migration (ESOMI), University of A Corunna (Spain) Do have the new municipalist pro-migrant policies succeeded in protecting the rights of irregular migrants? Cities in Spain have powers to design and implement services and programs aimed at the reception and integration of immigrants. Cities have also mechanisms to include those who are in vulnerable conditions regardless of the immigration status guaranteeing, for instance, access to healthcare and minimum income coverage. Notwithstanding, old municipal politics have been characterised by pragmatism, focusing primarily on responding to those who are in a regular situation. In addition, there is a restrictive and punitive turn in immigration policy that is directly connected to austerity policies. In order to explore what possibilities do cities have in expanding and protecting the rights of irregular immigrants, we have analysed the cases of Madrid and Barcelona for the years 2015-2019, when progressive municipalists fronts ruled the cities. Based on the textual analysis of policy documents and in-depth interviews with political parties, street-level bureaucrats and activists, we first examine the competencies that municipalities have in migration matters and what mainstream approaches do we find in Spain. Then, we discuss the action of the new municipalism, focusing the analysis on four political measures that we observe innovative when protecting irregular immigrants. These are measures aimed at, first, actively facilitate the census; second, prevent falling into irregularity; third, ensure access to healthcare; and fourth, changes in police identification protocols. Based on these real experiences we argue that cities can achieve changes in the way state control is enforced, yet the analysis also shows tensions between the political will and institutional constraints. === Challenges of the Immigrant Community-based Organizations in Milan, Italy Martinez-Damia, Sara Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Universidad De Sevilla Marzana, Daniela Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore Paloma, Virginia Universidad De Sevilla Marta, Elena Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore Research claims the importance of community participation of immigrants in community settings to promote their own well-being and empowerment in their new society. In the last years, however, media coverage focused on immigration has increased in Italy, connecting immigrants with fragility, otherness, threat, crime and insecurity. In fact, 2019 has been defined as the “Annus horribilis” for Italy in terms of migration. This may potentially impact on the everyday practice of the immigrant community-based organizations settled in the country. Within this context, this study focuses on analyzing the challenges faced by immigrant organizations in Milan, i.e. organizations founded and managed by immigrants. Through extensive fieldwork with immigrant community‐based organizations in Milan, immigrant associations were selected based on their nationality and their years of activities. In‐depth interviews (N=29) with immigrant leaders and members of these associations were completed and unstructured observations of public events were carried out. Based on a critical situational analysis approach that complemented an open coding, positional maps regarding the challenges that immigrant organizations encountered were generated. Specifically, the meaning of welcoming and racism in everyday practice, different perceptions of Milan and different narratives about immigration in Italy emerged, showing the complexity that immigrant associations have to face. Struggles, resources and desires of organizations were analyzed and some practical implications are advanced.


Daniela Marzana

UCSC Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano


Marcel Lubbers

Utrecht University


Jan-Philip Steinmann

University of Bremen


Katherine Pratt

American Graduate School


Carolien Jacobs

Leiden University


Nadia Sonneveld

Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance, and Society


Sara Maria Martinez Damia

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore


Virginia Paloma

Universidad de Sevilla


Marta, Elena

Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore


Keina Espineira


Belén Fernández-Suárez

Universidade da Coruña

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