Pathways to Power: The Political Representation of Citizens of Immigrant Origin in Seven European Democracies (PATHWAYS)

ORA-project 1 May 2014 - 30 April 2017

PIs: Dr. Manlio Cinalli, Dr. Laura Morales, Prof. Thomas Saalfeld (coordinator), Prof. Jean Tillie

PATHWAYS is a comparative research project on the political representation of citizens of immigrant origin in seven European democracies. It is funded by the British ESRC, the Dutch NWO, the French ANR and the German DFG under the Open Research Area (ORA) scheme. The principal investigators are Dr. Manlio Cinalli (Sciences Po Paris), Dr. Laura Morales (University of Leicester), Professor Thomas Saalfeld (University of Bamberg) and Professor Jean Tillie (University of Amsterdam). The three-year project will start in May 2014 and is going to be coordinated from the University of Bamberg.

PATHWAYS is a tightly integrated comparative project seeking to advance knowledge in two areas: (a) the descriptive representation of citizens of immigrant origin (CIO) in the legislative assemblies of seven European countries (Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain) at the national and regional levels (where meaningful regional assemblies exist); and (b), for the first time, the parliamentary activities of representatives of immigrant origin (substantive representation). These are our de-pendent variables. In a second step, we will seek to build on, test and (where necessary) extend, explanations of the variations in representation we observe. These are based on empirical theories of political representation in liberal democracies with a particular emphasis on the impact of political institutions and macro-level contextual factors on representation.

With regard to descriptive representation, our objectives are to collect data on the variation in the parliamentary ‘presence’ of CIOs across seven European democracies at national and regional levels of government, and analyze it in terms of age, gender, national origin, career and political history and examine the primary socio-economic, political and institutional factors that affect the access of CIOs to elected office. In relation to substantive representation, our objectives are to study variations and similarities of parliamentary activity of CIOs across the seven countries and analyze whether there is a relationship between descriptive and substantive representation (as hypothesized, e.g., by critical mass and mainstreaming approaches).

In relation to both types of representation, our goals are to (a) to provide the social science community with original data on the political representation of CIOs in seven European countries – some of which have been neglected in previous studies – making the data freely available (duly considering data protection issues); and (b) to describe and explain variations and similarities in the descriptive and substantive representation of CIOs using, and extending, existing empirical theories of political representation in political science with particular emphasis on political institutions,  strategies, social networks and political opportunity structures.

Related Publications:

Thomas Saalfeld (2011). ‘Parliamentary Questions as Instruments of Substantive Representation: Visible Minorities in the UK House of Commons, 2005-2010.’ Journal of Legislative Studies 17(3): 271-289.

Thomas Saalfeld and Kalliopi Kyriakopoulou (2011). ‘Presence and behaviour: black and minority ethnic MPs in the British House of Commons.’ In: Karen Bird, Thomas Saalfeld and Andreas M. Wüst (eds.): The Political Representation of Immigrants and Minorities: Voters, parties and parliaments in liberal democracies. London: Routledge, 230-249.

Andreas M. Wüst and Thomas Saalfeld (2011). ‘Abgeordnete mit Migrationshintergrund im Vereinigten Königreich, Frankreich, Deutschland und Schweden: Opportunitäten und Politikschwerpunkte.’ In: Politische Viertejahresschrift, Sonderheft 44/2010 (“Politik als Beruf”, ed. by Michael Edinger and Werner J. Patzelt). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 312-333.

Working Papers