Category Archives: Symbolic politics

The rejection of expertise damages public debate, but it also creates risks for populist governments

One common feature of populist anti-immigration movements is their eschewal of expertise. Populist movements mobilise support through claiming to articulate the interests of ‘the people’ as against established institutions and elites. They mobilise support against a discredited ruling elite and … Continue reading

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Seeing Illegal Immigrants

We have now officially launched our new ESRC project on ‘Seeing Illegal Immigrants: State Monitoring and Political Rationality’. The two-year long ESRC-funded project focuses on the ways states have ‘seen’ unauthorized migrants in France, Germany and the UK from the late 1960s to … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Symbolic politics | 1 Comment

The deal on EU immigration and welfare is symbolic – but Brexit won’t solve the ‘problem’ of EU immigration either

A consensus seems to be emerging that the deal on welfare access for EU migrants struck in Brussels last week is largely symbolic. It is unlikely to have a significant effect on the mobility decisions of potential migrants; nor does … Continue reading

Posted in Brexit, Immigration, Symbolic politics | 3 Comments

Plans to Evict ‘Illegal’ Immigrants: A Lesson in Symbolic Politics

This week the government announced plans to facilitate the eviction of tenants illegally resident in the UK. As part of their drive to ‘create a hostile environment for illegal migrants’, the government will remove legal obstacles to evicting non-nationals who … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Symbolic politics, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Borgenisation of UK Politics: good news for immigrants?

Policy experts have devoted massive attention to analysing the effect of UKIP on immigration policy. But there’s been very little reflection on how other ‘smaller’ parties might affect immigration policy. Based on the recent pre-election leaders’ debates in the UK … Continue reading

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The net migration target shows how difficult it is for liberal governments to restrict immigration

Scholars have long identified a so-called ‘liberal constraint’ on immigration policy. The argument goes as follow. Public opinion tends to favour restrictive policies, and politicians know they stand to lose votes by permitting large-scale immigration. Yet a number of ‘liberal constraints’ … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Symbolic politics | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Why the data doesn’t work: anti-immigrant sentiment and the economic impacts of migration

When UCL researchers released their latest findings on the fiscal impact of immigration a fortnight ago, they were portrayed in the media as somehow missing the point. It seems that data on the economic benefits of immigration can’t make a … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Research & Policy, Symbolic politics | 2 Comments