Political and cultural ethnic mobilisation: the role of immigrant associations in Norway

2011-10-27T13:31:39Z (GMT) by Line Nyhagen
This article analyses the extent to which immigrant associations in Norway engage in collective cultural and political mobilisation and play a role in the political system. Immigrant associations are generally perceived as being concerned with the development of a common cultural heritage and belonging (cultural mobilisation). Immigrant associations can also be allocated a political role, as participation in them is thought to increase both electoral and other forms of political participation. This article's concern is with the degree to which immigrant associations themselves engage in the political process, rather than with the effects of associational life on individual political participation. The political opportunity structure model is used to understand the collective participation of immigrant associations in political processes. The assumption that involvement in immigrant associations may open up opportunities for collective political participation underlies both current public policy thinking in Norway and some of the relevant research literature. What do immigrant associations themselves report about their political engagement? The article is based on the results of a postal survey of all immigrant associations in Norway. It analyses the distribution of different types of immigrant association, their goals and activities, their contact with other organisations, government institutions, political parties and the media, and their own perceptions of political participation and influence.