Reaching Out to Close the Border: The Transnationalization of Anti-Immigration Movements in Europe (MAM)

Led by Kristian Berg Harpviken

Jan 2020 – Dec 2023

Far-right activists at an Identitarian Movement of Austria anti-immigration rally in Vienna. The German-language signs read 'Fortress Europe', 'Close the Borders Now!', 'My Home is Not an Immigrant Country', and 'Europe, Youth, Reconquista'. Wikimedia Commons
​Immigration is seen as a major concern by many Europeans.

Immigration is seen as a major concern by many Europeans. Simultaneously, opposition to immigration - across the political spectrum - is the issue which most forcefully mobilizes politically. It is this Mobilization Against Migration ( MAM ) that gives our project its name.

It is a paradox that anti-immigration movements, whose key concern is opposing mobility across borders and who advocate isolationism, nationalism and cultural traditionalism, often work transnationally, with joint events, strategies and campaigns across borders and in multilateral forums.

MAM studies contemporary European anti-immigration movements, by focusing on

  1. interaction (forms and consequences),
  2. framing (political-ideological underpinnings), and
  3. outcomes (on migration policies).

A comprehensive analytical state-of-the-art framing will be followed by a pilot study to trace transnational outcomes in Europe, five comprehensive studies of most different cases (Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal and the UK), and a major synthesizing comparison.

A Methodology Lab, including leading scholars with various specialties, will be engaged to inform the ambitious multi-methods design, with process-tracing as the key methodology aiming for theory development.

The main sources of data are surveys, internet (both to map interaction and gather documents), and interviews. The multidisciplinary team of five draws from globally leading research environments on social movements, radicalization, conflict and migration.

MAM will engage with users in a Practitioners Exchange, from the initial design phase to the ultimate dissemination of findings. Through its platforms for engaging both scholars and users, research communication is an integral part of the project from day one, including an integrated outreach strategy on multiple platforms to reach all relevant audiences.

A core ambition of the project is to inspire new projects on transnational anti-immigration mobilization, while also drawing up and generating interest in a new agenda on the contentious governance of migration.

Funder: This project is funded by the Research Council of Norway under the VAM Programme.

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