Past Incentives, Present Choices: Ideational Legacies and the Politics of Migration in European Minority Regions

Christina Isabel Zuber presents the main arguments and empirical findings of her book project on ideational legacies and the politics of migration in European minority regions. The empirical analysis focuses on Catalonia and South Tyrol, two minority regions that respond very differently to immigration. South Tyrolean elites frame immigration as a threat and restrict immigrants’ access to social benefits. Catalan elites emphasize the opportunities of immigration and grant social rights to “new Catalans” on equal terms. Tracing the development of the political discourse on and the administrative management of migration and integration in both regions over time, I show that and how historical experiences with the arrival of internal (Italian and Spanish) migrants during industrialization continue to define each region’s political response to migration until the present day. In developing a theory of ideational stabilization that connects incentives of the past to political choices of the present, the book contributes to debate about the causal role of ideas in comparative politics and clarifies the logic behind widely used legacy explanations in the field of migration studies.


Christina Isabel Zuber is Assistant Professor of German Politics at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz. Her background is in comparative politics and her main research areas are comparative federalism, party politics, and migration. She studied Political Science, Slavic Languages and Philosophy at the University of Cologne, where she also received her PhD. Before joining the University of Konstanz, she held postdoctoral positions at the University of Bremen and at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and lectured at the Universities of Zurich and Lucerne.


This event is sponsored by the  Institute of European Studies, the Program for the Study of Italy,  and the Spanish Studies Program


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