The European backlash against immigration and multiculturalism
Journal of Sociology, nr 50 (1) | pages: 37-50
Europe forms an interesting laboratory for studying political reactions to mass immigration and integration of ethnic minorities during times of political turbulence and economic crisis. Political leaders of mainstream parties, under pressure from critics of intensified immigration and now from the social effects of the Great Recession, act reactively and defensively. They respond to a political backlash against immigration and to concerns about unemployment and job security by criticizing (mainly illegal) immigrants for welfare parasitism, reluctance to integrate and even criminality. Such criticism generates a climate of suspicion and hostility towards immigrants and legitimizes policies that restrict immigration and immigrant rights. The leaders also describe ‘multiculturalism’ – portrayed as uncritical acceptance of cultural diversity – as a failure, and suggest more ‘realistic’ (read: less tolerant, more assimilationist) policy strategies.
backlash politics, ethnicity, EU, immigration, multiculturalism