Occupy Europe? Political Participation among the Immigrant Second Generation

Sal Thorkelson, Princeton University

Do children of immigrants participate in European politics at rates equivalent to those of their native-born peers? This question affects the future of social cohesion in the twenty-first century multiethnic Europe. Using individual-level data for 24 countries from the European Social Survey and the U.S. General Social Survey, I first establish rates of electoral and informal political participation for immigrants, the second generation, and native-parentage individuals, and then test whether hospitable or hostile contexts of reception for immigrants are more conducive to second generation participation. Preliminary results show that the second generation participates at rates similar to their peers of native origin in these countries, and that places where immigrants' rights are weak are places where children of immigrants are more involved in national politics. This is a promising view of political integration processes for the EU overall, undermining popular pessimistic portrayals in the media and far-right rhetoric.

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Presented in Session 45: European Perspectives on Immigration and Policy