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Immigration and Sub-state (Identity) Politics

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Immigration and the regional level
Detailed Description

Immigration and integration are increasingly dealt with at a local and regional level. This downscaling of immigration and integration can become a particularly contentious issue in sub-national units which distinguish themselves from the central state by a distinct culture and identity (i.e. stateless nations and territories inhabited by national minorities). Two different sources of diversity need to be governed: diversity stemming from the presence of national minorities, and diversity stemming from While fears of linguistic erosion due to immigration might provoke negative responses from sub-state units (Hepburn and Zapata 2014), minority regions might see immigration also as a means to counterbalance demographic decline or to sustain and strengthen the own nation-building project.

This research seeks to contribute to this field in two ways:

  • Focusing on the local/municipal level in South Tyrol as a rural case study, provides insight into how local governments experiment with this new policy field. A study on perceptions of diversity and living together in the municipality of Brixen/Bressanone reveals that the needs and visions of the autochthonous and migrant population for a common future are rather similar.

The full publication can be downloaded here in German or in Italian.

  • Migration and Territory Young Scholars Network – MITE - aims at connecting advanced doctoral students and early postdocs researching on the interaction between immigration and sub-state movements and territories. The network is open to all perspectives, methodologies and disciplines of social sciences.
  • How does immigration impact on changes of collective identity at a sub-national level? Under which conditions does immigration lead to a contraction, expansion or shift of group boundaries (Barth 1969; Wimmer 2008; Zolberg and Woon 1999)? This PhD project (University of Leicester) addresses these questions and traces the development towards ethnic vs. civic, and eventually multicultural markers of group identity (Brown 2000; Hussain and Miller 2006; Sweeney 2005). The research highlights the degree of cohesion in the host society (divided society anchored in consociational power-arrangements vs. cohesive society) and the influence of the institutional setting (legal powers to manage integration/degree of autonomy) as the main explanatory factors.

Contact: Verena Wisthaler, verena.wisthaler@eurac.edu

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