Immigration and Conflict in Europe

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Immigration and Conflict in Europe (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics)
By Rafaela M. Dancygier
Cambridge University Press, 2010
368 pp. $28.99
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Foreigners looking to Europe often see the stereotype of a strife-torn continent of intolerant secularists threatened by teeming masses of religious radicals. Yet scholars who study the politics of immigration in Europe find more complex and nuanced patterns. One of the best efforts to make sense of it all is this book by Dancygier on the sources of immigration politics in Germany and the United Kingdom. She refutes the polemics of Islamophobes by showing that beliefs about ethnicity and religion on the ground have almost nothing to do with the patterns of discord. Instead, clashes tend to break out over scarce public resources, such as housing, schools, and state jobs. Where immigrants succeed in claiming their share of such resources, natives often signal their restlessness by voting for radical right parties or harassing their foreign-born neighbors. Where immigrants fail to gain these resources, they themselves are likely to protest violently against the state. Statistical data and insightful urban case studies confirm this, as does a concluding section extending the argument across Europe.