Civic Democracy

1592 Words7 Pages
By threatening to change the composition of the receiving nation in a more profound manner, large-scale immigration inevitably raises the question of collective self-identification: “Who are we?” and “What defines us?” Even within stable liberal democracies, it is difficult to obtain a consistent answer to these questions, although the responses likely influence who is allowed to enter a nation and how they are perceived. Kohn (1944), Smith (1981, 1983, 1990), Castles and Miller (1993), and Shulman (2002) have developed a perspective that defines societies, including their anticipated forms of national identity, in terms of similar historical backgrounds. Reflecting the content of these shared characteristics, three basic forms of…show more content…
Betz (1998: 8) argues that the electoral success of the radical right, anti-immigrant parties “reflects to a large extent the psychological strain associated with uncertainties produced by large-scale socio-economic and socio-structural change.” When negative economic and social trends appear at the national level, some individuals respond by demanding more restrictive immigration policies (McLaren 2003; Money 1997; Olzak 1992; Quillian 1995). National institutions often influence—and also are influenced by—these negative reactions toward newcomers. Prominent opinion leaders, both in the government and in the media, who oppose immigration and immigrants' rights often condemn immigrants for problems ranging from unemployment to waning public education. Their critics often argue that while these social and economic problems may be real, placing the sole blame on immigrants is a form of scapegoating. Although anti-immigrant sentiments often coexist with xenophobia, racism, and/or nativism, competition or the threat of economic competition can also provoke negative attitudes towards immigrants (Bonacich 1972; Olzak 1992). This is often referred to as ethnic competition theory. Some of the common economic rationales offered by individuals and groups who oppose open borders and the immigrants who accompany them include job loss and wage depression.
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