Spatial Inequality As Political Inequality? How the Spatial Distribution of Immigrant Networks and Organizations Affects Political Participation

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: 311+312
Oral Presentation
Nihad EL-KAYED , Humboldt University Berlin, Germany
One result of international migration is that a significant amount of people do not live in the nation states of which they are citizens. They therefore do not have full citizenship rights in their countries of residence because they are not full members of the polity. A result from this is an increasing democratic deficit, especially in cities where immigrant communities tend to concentrate.

This presentation examines how chances to participate politically are affected by residential location of Turkish immigrants in Berlin. Past studies have shown that the embeddedness in immigrant communities, namely in immigrant social networks and immigrant organizations, is able to include people politically even when they do not hold full citizenship status. Social networks and organizations activate immigrants by informing about politics or by motivating immigrants to e.g. take part in demonstrations.

However, chances to build such networks or to get active in voluntary organizations are different in different localities – even in one city. People living in different parts of the city, under different contextual conditions, have therefore different access to structures that make it easier to get politically active. In the presentation the impact of these structural conditions (namely the density of migrant organizations and the availablitiy of immigrant networks) are examined using data from a multilevel-survey currently conducted in 30 Berlin neighborhoods which focuses on people with a Turkish migration background.

In the first part of the presentation citizenship policies of the German state towards people with a Turkish migration will be examined (especially in regard to political rights). In a second step, it will be analysed how these citizenship practices interact 'on the ground' with practices of immigrant social networks and civic organizations.