Migrants as Political Actors
Research question/goal: How well are citizens with a migratory background represented in parliaments? And do members of parliament with a migratory background make a difference in the policy-making process and with respect to policies? These research questions on descriptive and substantive political representation will be treated in cross-national analyses including all political levels (national, regional, local). Different results are expected to be explained by variance in the degrees of assimilation and adaptation of the MPs and by different opportunities (openness, selection, recruitment) of the parties.
Members of parliament with a migration background have been identified in the national parliaments of the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Austria. For additional countries and parliamentary levels data gathering is in process. In Germany, 24 parliamentarians of immigrant background have been interviewed face-to-face. A qualitative analysis of these interviews has been published (Schmitz/Wüst 2011). Consolidated analyses have been done for Germany (Wüst/Heinz 2008; Wüst/Schmitz 2010) and for the UK, France, Sweden and Germany in comparison (Wüst/Saalfeld 2010). A comparative inventory of the state of research in the whole Research Area could be completed by the project leader, Karen Bird and Thomas Saalfeld. Other aspects are currently analyzed, f.i. parliamentary activities in a longitudinal perspective.