Citizenship Regimes and the Politicization of Immigrant Groups


  • Didier Ruedin University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland



Previous research has examined the various ways individuals and organizations react to immigration. This article explores how immigrants and their integration are debated across citizenship regimes, with a focus on ‘voiceless’ groups without formal franchise and a precarious residence status: asylum seekers, refugees, and irregular immigrants. A yearly measure of citizenship regimes is used together with a large-scale claims analysis of newspapers from seven Western European countries between 1995 and 2009 to systematically describe the relative frequency of and frames in different claims by political actors. The debate on immigration and integration varies by citizenship regime, including the way immigrant groups are referred to. Having an ethnic citizenship regime is associated with more claims about voiceless immigrant groups. At the same time, the association between immigrant group size and the extent to which immigrant groups are politicized is moderated by the citizenship regime. Debates on immigrants and their integration vary across citizenship regimes.