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This book is about the ideational mechanisms connecting historical immigration experiences to contemporary migrant policies. I theorize and trace two ideational mechanisms accounting for how temporally distant events can affect present policy choices: a mechanism of elite framing in political discourse (ideas as frames in communication), and a mechanism of institutionalisation in formal structure and day-to-day routines of administrative organisations (ideas as institutional sediments). Empirically, the book compares two minority regions – South Tyrol in Italy and Catalonia in Spain – that share many structural and institutional parameters, yet respond very differently to immigration. South Tyrolean elites frame immigration as a threat to the German-speaking minority and restrict immigrants’ access to social benefits. Catalan elites emphasise the opportunities of immigration, granting social rights to “new Catalans” on equal terms. Tracing the development of political discourse on and administrative organisation of immigration over time, I show how the political economic parameters of internal migration during the first half of the 20th century continue to define each region’s approach to immigration until the present day. By laying open the ideational micro-foundations of path dependent policy choice, I contribute to debates about the explanatory power of ideas and historical legacies.
Speaker: Christina Zuber, Professor at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz.
Christina Zuber background is in comparative politics and her main research areas are immigrant integration, party politics, and federalism. Past projects investigated ethnic minority representation and multinational federalism. Current projects study the original electoral mobilisation of “nation” and “class” in democratising Imperial Austria, and the ideational mechanisms through which collective historical experiences influence contemporary policy responses to immigration in Catalonia and South Tyrol. She studied Political Science, Slavic Languages and Philosophy at the University of Cologne, where she also received her doctorate. Before joining the University of Konstanz, she was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Bremen and at the Pompeu Fabra University and lectured at the Universities of Zurich and Lucerne. Her work has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, The European Journal of Political Research, Party Politics and The Journal of Political Philosophy.
Discussion: Jan Rovny & Paulus Wagner, Sciences Po, CEE & LIEPP