International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Immigrant Integration Norms and Antecedents of Muslim Attitudes in Europe

Gallya Lahav, Stony Brook University; Julie Wronski, Stony Brook University; Patrick Lown, Stony Brook University

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: Stony Brook University
Research Area: Social inequality and social change

The salience of immigration in Western Europe focuses on the integration of Muslim migrants, who constitute the largest proportion of diaspora communities outside the Middle East.   The adoption of diverse integration strategies (e.g., assimilation, multiculturalism) among European countries reflects distinct national exigencies.  Notably, these strategies have generated uneven policy outcomes for both objective (e.g. socio-economic advancement) and normative (e.g. political identity) integration.

Prior comparative research has exposed anomalies between integration policies and outcomes. Countries which adopted more restrictive and exclusionary integration strategies witnessed successful integration outcomes in objective but not normative measures. Thus, in countries where assimilation has prevailed, immigrant integration is exclusionary by objective measures, but includes less normative radicalization and violent social movements. In contrast, the inclusionary approach of multiculturalism, has produced greater material integration, but less normative inclusion.  This paradox warrants further analysis into the objective and subjective antecedents of Muslim diaspora norms regarding host societies.   

Wedding the literatures on immigration and political deviance, our study distinguishes between objective and normative aspects of integration to link policies and behaviors among immigrant groups.  We examine normative attitudinal patterns among Muslim respondents in four countries – the UK, France, Germany, and Spain – where such diaspora communities exist.  We contextualize these attitudes against aggregate socio-economic indicators and integration strategies. By juxtaposing objective and subjective factors we discover that immigrant behavior may be more dependent on normative aspects of state policies than on material dimensions.  Implications of these findings on social marginalization, vulnerability to radicalization, and political violence are discussed.