- The immigration and integration debate in the Netherlands: discursive and programmatic reactions to the rise of anti-immigration parties
- Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Immigration and integration issues have become increasingly important in West European politics, partly as a consequence of the rise of anti-immigration parties. This article investigates how immigration and integration issues have become politicised in the Netherlands since the beginning of the 1990s, what role anti-immigration parties have played in this process and the extent to which party positions on these issues are structured by a left-right dimension. It examines changes in debates about immigration and integration issues by means of a content analysis of party programmes, measuring changes in frames, positions and salience. It concludes that (1) immigration and integration issues have been given more attention by parties since the early 1990s, (2) parties have replaced their discourse of socio-economic integration by a discourse of cultural integration and (3) parties have adopted a monoculturalist instead of a multiculturalist position in the immigration and integration debate. However, despite these changes to the immigration and integration debate, it remains structured by a left-right divide, with left-wing parties being in favour of more lenient, multiculturalist policies and right-wing parties being in favour of more restrictive, monoculturalist policies. Furthermore, the article demonstrates that many of the changes were already set in motion by mainstream parties prior to the successful electoral breakthrough of anti-immigration parties.
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