The party politics of migration

Authored by: Pontus Odmalm

The Routledge Handbook of the Politics of Migration in Europe

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138201187
eBook ISBN: 9781315512853
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines an emerging sub-field in political science, namely, the party politics of migration. It begins by sketching out potential reasons for why parties are often downplayed in European and North American studies focusing on immigration and integration polices. Thereby one can identify some common denominators. One the one hand, most analyses tend to examine state level politics of migration, that is, the output-side. On the other, when parties are credited with playing a role, then the populist radical right is typically the main focal point. Both bodies of literature also tend to place greater emphasis on structural perspectives, often at the expense of more agency-based explanations. This helps to explain the relatively smaller interest (mainstream) parties receive in studies that attempt to merge ‘parties and elections’ scholarship with ‘migration studies’. However, one noticeable difference is the somewhat greater role parties play in the European literature compared to that of North America. Finally, the chapter raises some suggestions for future research and asks scholars to consider broader party system dynamics, especially the interactions between centre-left and centre-right parties.

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