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Apathy, adaptation or ethnic mobilisation? On the attitudes of a politically excluded group

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This paper examines political attitudes and behavioural intentions of immigrants in the field of voting behaviour. Based on a quantitative survey of the population of Turkish origin in Mannheim, Germany, and data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP), we show that the political attitudes of immigrants reflect their marginal legal status: immigrants show a lower interest in the political processes of the host country and a lower identification with its political institutions than natives, and this difference is only partly explained by immigrants' lower socio-economic status. Alienation from institutions in the host country increases migrants' likelihood of considering ethnically segregated immigrant parties as more suitable for representing their interests than the political parties of the host country. A closer look at the political attitudes of these supporters of immigrant parties reveals, however, little evidence of collective interest formation among this group.
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Keywords: ETHNIC POLITICS; GERMANY; IMMIGRATION; POLITICAL PARTICIPATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2001

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