Political Parties and 'the Immigration Issue': Issue Ownership in Swedish Parliamentary Elections 1991-2010

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Why is ‘the immigration issue’ rarely polemical for the Swedish mainstream when it divides parties across Europe? Several factors suggest fertile ground for conflict, yet parties hesitate to capitalise on anti-immigration cues. Based on interviews with Swedish MPs, the article discusses two interlinked issues. First, immigration crystallises conflicting ideological streams: market liberalism vs. value conservatism (for the centre-right) and international solidarity vs. welfare state/labour market protectionism (for the centre-left), and stressing the ‘wrong’ stream detracts attention from parties' core competencies. Second, since competition, when present, revolves around issue ownership, parties that are less trusted on immigration will divert attention to areas of higher competence. Whether immigration becomes politicised is not necessarily dependent on electoral grievances or a radical right presence but on parties' ability to handle and negotiate these conflicting streams and issue priorities. An appreciation of the party politics of immigration is thus central to understanding when, and why, immigration becomes an ‘issue’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1070-1091
JournalWest European Politics
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Political Parties and 'the Immigration Issue': Issue Ownership in Swedish Parliamentary Elections 1991-2010'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this