Politicization from Below? The Deportation Issue in Public Discourse in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany
21 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2014
Date Written: August 14, 2014
Deportation has become a central element of immigration control, particularly of asylum seekers whose application has been rejected. For a long time deportation has been a non-issue in public discourse, implemented without significant public opposition or publicity. More recently, however, feelings of unease and moral outrage have emerged among certain sections of the population and the general public, manifesting themselves in various forms of protest against the deportation of individuals: deportation has become contested and politicized. We analyse the politicization of deportation in three countries – Austria, Germany, Switzerland – between 1993 and 2013 drawing on media coverage on the issue. Different from immigration, which is top-down politicized by governmental and party actors, it seems that the politicization of deportation is mainly bottom-up. Individuals threatened by deportation and NGOs and churches are the dominant actors in protests against deportations. Protest is about as likely to focus on individual deportation cases than policy. Unconventional forms of political participation are common, but once the issue of deportation has become politicized political parties increasingly join the debate.
Keywords: deportation, asylum, protest, politicization
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