Forced and inforced immigration – Attitudes formation and state-level regulations

Course content

In recent years, we observe an increased negative perception of ethnically diverse groups by the population as well as the state. This attitudinal development continuously challenges social cohesion in Western democracies. With respect to this, the issue of immigration as well as anti-immigrant attitudes received a lot of attention in both the academic and societal sphere. Discrimination thereby takes place on different levels and between different actors. For example, between individuals or the state and immigrant groups. The seminar aims at addressing this complex nature and different dimensions of immigration issues in a comparative perspective. The main question thereby is: Where do negative sentiments towards ethnically diverse groups come from and how can they be overcome?


At first, the seminar provides an overview over the different concepts in immigration research. In a second step, we will look at different forms and dimensions of discrimination. For example, discrimination in welfare policy delivery. The seminar will further focus on the often neglected question of the potential political consequences of anti-immigrant attitudes; in particular, the connection between the rise of populist parties and anti-immigrant attitudes. Ultimately, the course provides an overview over potential policy measures to regulate immigration and integration as well as the policy effects on anti-immigrant attitudes.


Bachelor student (2012 programme curriculum): 10 ECTS

Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 7.5 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS


Notice: It is only possible to enroll for one course having a 3-day compulsory written take-home assignment exam due to coincident exam periods.

Learning outcome

Knowledge and understanding

Students will be able to understand and critically reflect different concepts of immigration attitudes. They should gain the ability to identify and critically evaluate the relationships between individual as well as contextual characteristics and anti-immigrant sentiments. Moreover, at the end of the course, they should understand and critically reflect empirical studies, in order to assess their strengths and weaknesses. 



Students will be able to analyse specific cases and evaluate the empirical, concrete and complex challenges within the field of immigration research. Furthermore, they will understand the different societal and political challenges that arise from increased immigration and anti-immigrant sentiments in Western democracies



Students will be able to address the general problem of anti-immigrant attitudes and critically reflect on its origins, consequences and potential cures.

The course uses a mixture of classroom teaching, small-group problem-solving, exercises and plenary debates.

An extensive week-by-week reading list, featuring core reading for each topic will be made available in advance of the seminar. The following list offers an illustration of some of the texts that will be used on the course. Apart from scientific publications, we will also read blogposts and newspaper articles.



Bohman, Andrea, and Mikael Hjerm. 2016: In the wake of radical right electoral success: A cross-country comparative study of anti-immigration attitudes over time. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42 (11): 1729–47.


Citrin, J., M. Levy, and M. Wright. 2014. “Multicultural Policy and Political Support in European Democracies.” Comparative Political Studies 47 (11): 1531-57.


Dronkers, J., and M. P. Vink. 2012. “Explaining access to citizenship in Europe: How citizenship policies affect naturalization rates.” European Union Politics 13 (3): 390-412.


Freitag, Markus und Carolin Rapp, 2013: Intolerance Toward Immigrants in Switzerland. Diminished Threat through Social Contacts? Swiss Political Science Review 19(4): 425-446.


Goodman, S. W. 2015. “Conceptualizing and Measuring Citizenship and Integration Policy: Past Lessons and New Approaches.” Comparative Political Studies 48 (14): 1905-41.


Hainmueller, Jens and Dominik Hangartner. 2013. “Who gets a Swiss passport? A natural experiment in immigrant discrimination”.  American Political Science Review 107(1): 159-187.


Helbling, Marc und Hanspeter Kriesi, 2014: Why Citizens Prefer High- over Low-Skilled Immigrants. Labor Market Competition, Welfare State, and Deservingness. European Sociological Review, 30(5): 595-614.


Huddy, Leonie, and Nadia Khatib. 2007. “American Patriotism, National Identity, and Political Involvement.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (1): 63-77.


Kleinpennig, Gerard und Louk Hagendoorn, 1993: Forms of Racism and the Cumulative Dimension of Ethnic Attitudes. Social Psychology Quarterly, 56 (1): 21-36.


Koopmans, Ruud, Ines Michalowski, and Stine Waibel. 2012. “Citizenship Rights for Immigrants: National Political Processes and Cross-National Convergence in Western Europe, 1980-2008.” American Journal of Sociology 117 (4): 1202-45.


Rapp, Carolin und Kathrin Ackermann, 2015: The Consequences of Social Intolerance on Non-violent Protest. European Political Science Review 8(4): 567–588.


Reeskens, Tim, and Marc Hooghe. 2010. “Beyond the civic-ethnic dichotomy: investigating the structure of citizenship concepts across thirty-three countries.” Nations and Nationalism 16 (4): 579-97


Strabac, Zan, und Ola Listhaug. 2008: Anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe: A multilevel analysis of survey data from 30 countries. Social Science Research 37 (1): 268–86.


Schlueter, Elmar, Bart Meuleman, and Eldad Davidov. 2013. “Immigrant Integration Policies and Perceived Group Threat: a Multilevel Study of 27 Western and Eastern European Countries.” Social Science Research 42 (3): 670-82.


Schneider, Silke L. 2008: Anti-Immigrant Attitudes in Europe: Outgroup Size and Perceived Ethnic Threat. European Sociological Review 24 (1): 53–67.


Thomann, Eva and Carolin Rapp. 2017. “Who deserves solidarity? Unequal treatment of immigrants in Swiss welfare policy delivery”. Policy Studies Journal (online first), pg. 1-41.


Wright, Matthew 2011. “Policy Regimes and Normative Conceptions of Nationalism in Mass Public Opinion.” Comparative Political Studies 44 (5): 598-624.

Basic knowledge of quantitative methods, e.g. understanding of empirical text, necessary.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
3-day compulsory written take-home assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28