Civil Society and Governance in Europe
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Civil Society and Governance in Europe

From National to International Linkages

Edited by William A. Maloney and Jan W. van Deth

The contributors to this new book analyse the opportunities for civil society associations to contribute to European integration and decision-making from various perspectives. The research demonstrates that the Europeanization process – in terms of civil society actors adapting to the European political space – has an uneven development.
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Chapter 7: Citizenship, Welfare and the Opportunities for Political Mobilisation: Migrants and Unemployed Compared

Didier Chabanet and Marco Giugni


Didier Chabanet and Marco Giugni 7.1 INTRODUCTION Migrants and the unemployed form the core constituency of two political or issue fields that are central to current debates and policy making in Western Europe: immigration and ethnic relations politics (migrants) as well as employment politics (unemployed). Furthermore, these are two underprivileged minority groups, subject to social and political exclusion, which are poorly equipped in terms of internal resources and mobilising structures that may facilitate collective action. As a result, they share a similar condition insofar as they face a number of obstacles for their mobilisation and therefore have difficulties entering the public domain. Such obstacles, however, are probably higher for the unemployed, given the specific collective action problem faced by them (Bagguley 1992; Faniel 2003; Fillieule 1993; Galland and Louis 1981; Maurer 2001; Richards 2002; Royall 1997). Therefore, we may expect the political mobilisation of the unemployed to be less likely than that of migrants. This chapter aims to explain cross-national variations in the political mobilisation of migrants and unemployed people following a revised political opportunity approach. We argue that the mobilisation of such underprivileged minority groups is constrained by the political opportunity structures provided by the institutional context of the country in which they act. However, contrary to traditional opportunity theories, we suggest that their mobilisation also depends on a set of opportunities specific to the political or issue field most directly addressed by their claims. We propose to look for these specific opportunities in the...

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