Assistant Professor David Pettinicchio recently published a blog post on Mobilizing Ideas, a blog produced by the Center for the Study of Social Movements at the University of Notre Dam, for scholars and activists to discuss social movements and change. Professor Pettinicchio’s post explores existing theories about immigrant participation in political processes such as protests, petition-signing, and boycotts, and discusses these theories in relation to the findings of his recent research on immigrant political participation in Europe. Professor Pettinicchio studies political sociology and social policy. He recently published a paper with Dr. Robert de Vries entitled “Immigrant Political Participation in Europe Comparing Different Forms of Political Action across Groups”
We have posted an excerpt of the post below.
Comparing Immigrant Political Participation
David Pettinicchio | Aug. 16, 2017
This year saw numerous episodes of mobilization by immigrants and non-immigrants alike. In Sweden, protesters mobilized against police in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood of Stockholm. Protesters in Cologne, Germany organized against the anti-immigration party, the AfD. London protesters held an event at the U.S. embassy in London against Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban.” And, protesters in the U.S. mobilized against Trump and his administration’s views and positions on immigration with “A Day Without Immigrants.”
It’s hard to believe that a widely held assumption in the literature on immigrant political participation was that immigrants, particularly non-citizens, were unlikely to become involved politically, especially in more visible, disruptive forms of collective action. Yet, immigrant citizens and non-citizens participate in a wide-range of political action – from signing petitions, to boycotts, to protest demonstrations.
This raises theoretical and empirical questions about how different immigrant political participation is from that of native participation – whether these reveal, as some scholars suggested, “unique patterns” of political participation – especially when it comes to preferences for so-called extra-institutional or more disruptive forms of action.
Indeed, my recent paper with Robert de Vries at the University of Kent draws attention precisely to the often problematic ways in which social movement scholars, political sociologists and other social scientists conceptualize and operationalize participation. We sought to link these concerns to what scholars might expect participation to be like given what we know about collective action.