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

Submission summary

Over the past decades, West European societies have grown increasingly ethnically diverse. This has been mostly a result of migration.
Increasingly, the citizenship and political incorporation of immigrants have become key areas of concern for policy makers and researchers.
Integration requires political participation and representation. PATHWAYS is a tightly integrated internationally co-operative and comparative
project of social scientists at British, French, German and Dutch universities, 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 sub-national levels; and (b), for the first time, the parliamentary activities of representatives of
immigrant origin (substantive representation). The project is 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 sub-national levels of government, and analyse 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 analyse whether there is a relationship between descriptive and substantive representation (as hypothesised, e.g., by critical mass
and mainstreaming approaches).
In relation to both types of representation, our goals are to build on existing empirical research and refine indicators that will allow us to measure
and analyse representation in a comparative manner, contributing to policy debates by proposing valid and reliable indicators that allow the
monitoring of political incorporation of CIOs. In addition, we aim (a) to provide the social science community with original and cutting-edge 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 and opportunity structures.

Project coordination


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 135,616 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: April 2014 - 36 Months

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