To what extent does EU immigration pose a threat to Switzerland and which factors contribute towards Swiss popular and institutionalised xenophobia?

Michels, Luca (2015) To what extent does EU immigration pose a threat to Switzerland and which factors contribute towards Swiss popular and institutionalised xenophobia? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    On the 9th February 2014, the Swiss electorate accepted the initiative ‘Against Massimmigration’, which sought to reintroduce quotas for the migration of EU citizens. This controversial vote prompted a renewed debate over immigration in the international sphere. This dissertation contributes to this debate by assessing the gains and problems created for Switzerland by EU immigration. Additionally, it examines the increasing xenophobia towards immigrants in Switzerland and the historical rise of post-war anti-immigration parties, demonstrating the impact of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in developing xenophobia within the native population. In order to achieve a wide analytical scope, the dissertation assesses the extent to which immigrants pose a threat to national security, both in terms of criminality and economically. The role of the SVP and other anti-immigration parties in evoking sensationalised native perceptions of the threat of immigration, as well as the fear of Overforeignisation (Überfremdung), is a significant factor in shaping anti-immigrant sentiment. A specific problem for Switzerland is the flawed nature of plebiscitary democracy, as low voter turnouts mean that initiative results do not necessarily reflect the will of the majority, and often the party with the biggest budget has distorted influence over the outcomes of initiatives. Strict naturalisation laws also prevent immigrants, even second or third generation immigrants, from fully integrating into society and participating politically. This leads to an institutionalisation of xenophobia and an exclusionary environment for immigrants. However, this research shows that immigrants are indispensable to the Swiss economic structure and have been vital to economic growth and development since the Second World War. There are significant overall gains from immigration, and problems that do arise, such as the proportionally higher foreign crime rate within Switzerland, are the result of problems with integration, native-immigrant inequality and xenophobia.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 08 Jul 2015 15:16
    Last Modified: 08 Jul 2015 15:16
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/17643

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