University of Leicester
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Immigration and Collective Identity in Minority Nations: A longitudinal comparison of Stateless Nationalist and Regionalist Parties in the Basque Country, Corsica, South Tyrol, Scotland and Wales

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posted on 2016-11-29, 11:52 authored by Verena Wisthaler
This PhD thesis evaluates the nexus between Stateless Nationalist and Regionalist Parties’ (SNRPs) constructions of minority nations’ identity and immigration. A longitudinal comparison (1992 – 2012) of the Basque Country, Corsica, South Tyrol, Scotland and Wales first explores the impact immigration has on the parties’ construction of the minority nations’ identity. Secondly, I examine if and under which conditions SNRPs consider migrants and migration-generated diversity to constitute an integral part of the minority nations. The dissertation relies on a qualitative analysis of SNRPs’ discourses on immigration, their construction of the migrant as ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted,’ and their discourse and policies on migrant-integration. Finally, the thesis offers an innovative explanation of the diverse approaches to immigration and the construction of the nation confronted with immigration by SNRPs in the selected minority nations. I argue that, on the one hand, robust political-institutional relations between the state and the minority nation and, on the other, robust and conflict-free societal relations between the community claiming to belong to the minority nation and the state majority living within the minority nation have a significant impact on the SNRPs’ approach to immigration. Societal cleavages, which divide the receiving society in the minority nations are shown to impact the SNRPs’ framing of the minority nation’s identity. Parties instrumentalize the discourse on immigration to differentiate themselves as far as possible from their national governments’ approach to immigration and hence to strengthen their strategic interests for the territory, which usually overlap with demands for further devolution or secession. Thus, most SNRPs develop a particular form of instrumental nationalism which facilitates the construction of an identity based on civic and territorial markers. Such a framing of the minority nation’s identity allows the inclusion of migration-generated diversity, either through multicultural recognition or assimilation, but is constructed against the traditional ‘significant other’, namely the central state.



Morales, Laura; Brace, Laura

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Politics and International Relations

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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