[en] In recent years, the topic of migrants’ participation at the national, subnational and transnational
levels has received increasing political and societal salience, especially across Western
countries. This has been coupled with a growing academic interest in migrants’ patterns of
socio-political mobilisation, often derived from the acceleration and diversification of human
mobility worldwide. So far, much of the scholarship has focused on migrants’ participation
in institutionalised political activities, especially in a context in which declining turnout and
growing political scepticism have started to threaten representative democracies.
Nevertheless, by doing so, past studies have often neglected the wide repertoire of alternative
‘acts of citizenship’ (Isin and Nielsen 2008) through which migrants influence the
political agenda in home or host countries by articulating their demands outside of the electoral
arena. As we will show, research on migrants’ political participation still faces important limitations.
Some derive from the limited empirical evidence that exists on patterns of engagement
of different migrant groups across different countries. Others arise from the relatively scarce
attention paid so far to key factors explaining migrants’ preferences for specific modes or
channels of participation over others.
This chapter aims to provide a roadmap of the changing nature of migrants’ participation
beyond electoral politics. The chapter is structured as follows. The next section discusses the
recent evolution of the multifaceted phenomenon of political participation and exemplifies
differences over time and across countries in migrants’ mobilisation. The third section draws
attention to the risk of treating migrants as a homogenous group when examining their political
participation. We argue that research on this topic should systematically pay attention not
only to migrants’ characteristics (national origin, first- versus second-generation migrants,
foreigners versus naturalised migrants), but also the type of polity they engage in (at the
national, subnational or supranational level). The fourth section discusses key determinants
of cross-country and intergroup variations in migrants’ participation. We conclude with an
agenda for further research, based on current gaps in existing literature.
Political science, public administration & international relations
Author, co-author :
Vintila, Cristina-Daniela ; Université de Liège - ULiège > Faculté des sciences sociales > Centre d'études de l'ethnicité et des migrations (CEDEM)
Martiniello, Marco ; Université de Liège - ULiège > Faculté des sciences sociales > Centre d'études de l'ethnicité et des migrations (CEDEM)
Migrants' Political Participation Beyond Electoral Arenas
Publication date :
Main work title :
Handbook of Citizenship and Migration
Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, United Kingdom
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