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Sonia Alonso and Saro Claro da Fonseca, "Immigration, left and right," Party Politics, 18 (November, 2012), 865-884. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Throughout the post-war period, Western Europe has been exposed to constant flows of immigration. Previous research has dealt with the various consequences of immigration for national politics, including the electoral competition between political parties. The emergence of extreme right parties (ERPs), 1 for example, has been explained in the light of the socio-demographic changes brought about by immigration, even though not exhaustively (Ignazi, 2003; Jackman and Volpert, 1996; Jungerstam-Mulders, 2003; Mudde, 2000). There is a large body of work on ERPs and their voters as well as on the structural effects of ERPs on party systems and, more specifically, on the ideologically proximate mainstream Right 2 (Art, 2007; Arzheimer and Carter, 2006; Bale, 2003; de Lange, 2007; Downs, 2001; Eatwell and Mudde, 2004; Green-Pedersen and Krogstrup, 2008; Harmel and Svasand, 1997; Meguid, 2008; Van der Brug and Fennema, 2003). The latter is commonly seen as the net beneficiary of anti-immigrant rhetoric in electoral campaigns. In their run against Socialists and Social Democrats, mainstream right parties across Western Europe have repeatedly made use of anti-immigrant sentiments in the electorate as a means of maximizing votes and reaching office (Thra¨nhardt, 1995). But little attention has been given to the parties on the left and how right-wing extremist competition has affected their stances on immigration-related issues. Ideologically, Socialist and Social Democratic parties -- the parties we refer to as 'mainstream left' -- have good reason to be more inclusive regarding societal diversity, but, strategically, they are challenged by the mainstream and/or the extreme right on these matters.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Mean saliency and position on immigration scale in West European party manifestos, 1975-2005, by party family (standard deviation in parentheses)
Figure 1. Evolution of manifesto positions along the immigration scale by party family (1975-2005)
Table 2a. Saliency scores of immigration in party manifestos by presence or absence of relevant ERPs (1975-2005) (standard deviation in parentheses)
Table 2b. Position scores of party families on the immigration scale by presence or absence of ERPs (1975-2005) (standard deviation in parentheses)
Table 3. Country selection for comparison of individual cases
Figures 2-11. Mainstream left's and right's positions on the immigration scale between 1970 and 2005
Figures 2-11. Continued. Mainstream left's and right's positions on the immigration scale between 1970 and 2005

Last Paragraph:
(First paragrap of conclusions). In our analysis, we found an increasing saliency of immigration issues in the policy agendas of West European parties since the mid-1970s. This applies regardless of the presence or absence of ERPs in the national political arenas. In fact, where such parties do not play a relevant role in electoral politics, these issues have been successfully appropriated by the mainstream Right. Globalization and the Europeanization of policymaking are likely to have contributed towards increasing the saliency of immigration issues in most of the West European countries that we analysed; diffusion and imitation effects could have done the rest (Rydgren, 2005). Mainstream left and right parties may thus radicalize their immigration agendas without being challenged by ERPs. In some countries, we observe that positional turns by the mainstream parties have been followed by the emergence of electorally relevant ERPs.

Last updated November 2012