European citizens increasingly see immigration as a major concern. Opposition to immigration is on the increase across the political spectrum and is a basis for forceful political mobilization. Anti-immigration movements tend to advocate for isolationism, nationalism and cultural traditionalism, and sees it as a central objective to limit mobility across borders. At the same time, such movements often work transnationally, with joint events, strategies and campaigns across borders and in multilateral forums. The Anti-Mig project studies contemporary European anti-immigration movements, with a particular focus on the transnational dimensions of their mobilization. We have a threefold analytical focus:
1) Interaction; the networks and the forms of cooperation across borders
2) Framing: the political and cultural foundations asserted
3) Outcomes: the impact of the movements on migration policies
Starting with a comprehensive mapping of the status of knowledge in the field, we will move on to a pilot study tracing transnational outcomes of mobilization on policy. A core element in the project is studies of the developments in six countries, which taken together should represent much of the variation within Western Europe: Austria, Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal and the United Kingdom (since the launch, an external grant has enabled us to add Portugal as a 6th case study; furthermore, we plan to replace Austria with Poland). We involve a group of international experts in a (Covid-19 adapted) virtual Methodology Lab, developing innovative methodological approaches, and we will engage with a series of actors in government and civil society in a Practitoners' Exchange. The main data sources are surveys, social media, and interviews. The project team has their main competence at the intersection of social movement and migration studies, within sociology, political science and human geography. With a multifaceted communication strategy, the project aims at stimulating public debate, foster learning and reflection among policymakers, as well as contributing to the scholarly debate and eventually lay the basis for a new research agenda.
By October 2021, one and a half year into the four years research project, the main emphasis is still on data collection. Simultaneously, we have ongoing discussions on methodological and analytical issues, and we have a range of publications out that examine a variety of topics overlapping with the project?s main research questions, and drawing on project data. Those publications have focused on how migration figures in far-right mobilization, on anti-Islamic mobilization, on how gender figures in far-right and anti-migration mobilization, and on the mutually constitutive relationship between pro- and anti-migrant movements.
Immigration is seen as a major concern by many Europeans. Simultaneously, opposition to immigration - across the political spectrum - is the issue which most forcefully mobilizes politically. It is a paradox that anti-immigration movements, whose key concern is opposing mobility across borders and who advocate isolationism, nationalism and cultural traditionalism, often work transnationally, with joint events, strategies and campaigns across borders and in multilateral forums. Anti-Mig studies contemporary European anti-immigration movements, by focusing on 1) interaction (forms and consequences), 2) framing (political-ideological underpinnings), and 3) outcomes (on migration policies). A comprehensive analytical state-of-the-art framing will be followed by a pilot study to trace transnational outcomes in Europe, five comprehensive studies of most different cases (Germany, Italy, Norway, Austria, UK), and a major synthesizing comparison. A Methodology Lab, including leading scholars with various specialties, will be engaged to inform the ambitious multi-methods design, with process-tracing as the key methodology aiming for theory development. The main sources of data are surveys, internet (both to map interaction and gather documents), and interviews. The multidisciplinary team of five draws from globally leading research environments on social movements, radicalization, conflict and migration. Anti-Mig will engage with users in a Practitioners Exchange, from the initial design phase to the ultimate dissemination of findings. Through its platforms for engaging both scholars and users, research communication is an integral part of the project from day one, including an integrated outreach strategy on multiple platforms to reach all relevant audiences. A core ambition of the project is to inspire new projects on transnational anti-immigration mobilization, while also drawing up and generating interest in a new agenda on the contentious governance of migration.