POLEMIG – Being a politically active emigrant. The commitment of emigrants in home politics: a comparative analysis

Promoteur : Benoît Rihoux
Chercheur : Tudi Kernalegenn
Financement : Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship, European Commission

This research aims to understand the organizational and cognitive consequences of the election of specific political representatives by citizens living abroad. The proposal is based on a comparative analysis of three expatriate populations: French, and two without, Spanish and British, in three receiving countries, Belgium, the USA and China. The focus of the research is the motivations, representations and strategies of politically active emigrants in branches of home political parties abroad. The research will be done through an original multi-methods research design – computer-assisted discourse analysis, qualitative comparative sociology and quantitative questionnaire analysis – to gather rich and sociologically relevant data. This will produce robust results and provide good grounds for tentative generalization beyond the considered case studies. The project will originally contribute to the theoretical advancement of many research fields. It will develop the theory of political parties, since the knowledge is weak and fragmentary concerning the role and functioning of political parties abroad, and almost inexistent in non-contentious contexts. It will also advance the theory of transnational politics, focusing on two dimensions underdeveloped in the existing literature: the involvement of emigrants in home politics and the analysis of banal transnational politics. It will finally contribute to the theory of national identity and citizenship in that it will question the reconfiguration of established nation states that might result from giving citizenship rights and representation to nationals living abroad. In a policy perspective the research responds to recurring demands to further investigate the governance of migration as well as the implications of multilevel citizenship in a context of growing mobility of EU citizens from, to and within the EU.