Political Integration of Immigrants: A study of Participation and Representation in Norwegian Local Politics
This project is a study of political participation and political representation of non-western immigrants in Norway. Previous Norwegian research in this area suggest that, in some cases at least, immigrants are more successfully integrated in the political sphere than in other parts of society, say, the labor- or housing markets. Thus, by looking at Norwegian local politics, we could get new insights into the issue of integration more generally. The project forms a part of a larger European research network on "the political representation of migrants and ethnic minorities". Our main goal is to explain differences in political participation and representation between immigrants and ethnic Norwegians, as well as between different ethnic groups of immigrants. Our point of departure is the theory of social capital, and the hypothesis that membership in civil organizations will foster political participation. The data is related to two sets of Norwegian municipal council elections; those in 2003 and 2007. We use both quantitative and qualitative data. Statistics Norway (SSB) collects a probability sample of data on political participation from the election registers. The IT-company ErgoEphorma provides data on candidates for Norwegian municipal elections in 2003 and 2007, which includes information on immigrant background, gender, age, political party, election results, and a number of other variables. We also conduct a survey of all candidates with a non-western immigrant background from the two elections, by use of a postal survey questionnaire. Finally, we conduct comparative studies of selected Norwegian municipalities, using several data-sources, with the aim of explaining variations in the success immigrant candidates.