05 Apr Christina Zuber – University of Konstanz
NEW POLICIES IN OLD FRAMES: HISTORY, IDEAS, AND IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION IN CATALONIA AND SOUTH TYROL
This talk will present my book project studying the role of historical legacies for migration policy-making. In the book, I theorise two ideational mechanisms that explain how temporally distant events can affect present policy choices: a mechanism of elite framing in political discourse (ideas as frames in communication), and a mechanism of institutionalisation in the formal structure and day-to-day routines of administrative organisations (ideas as institutional sediments). Empirically, the book compares two minority regions – South Tyrol in Italy and Catalonia in Spain – that share socio-structural and institutional parameters, yet respond very differently to immigration. South Tyrolean elites frame immigration as a threat to the German-speaking minority and restrict immigrants’ access to social benefits. By contrast, Catalan elites emphasise the opportunities of immigration, granting social rights to “new Catalans” on equal terms. Tracing the development of political discourse on and the administrative organisation of immigration over time, I show that it is the political economic parameters of historical processes of internal migration both regions encountered during the first half of the 20th century that continue to define each region’s approach to immigration until the present day.