Debating Islam in Austria, Germany and Switzerland: Ethnic Citizenship, Church-State Relations and Right-Wing Populism.

with Martin Dolezal and Marc Helbling. West European Politics 33(2) 2010, 171-190.

This article explores public debates regarding Islam and Muslim immigration in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. The authors are interested in which issues dominate the debates, which actors participate, which positions are taken, and which arguments are mobilised. Exploring three countries with an ethnic model of citizenship allows them to control for important cultural factors and to focus on three other explanatory variables: the dominant model of political participation, the relationship between the state and church/Islam, and the strength of right-wing populism. To test their arguments, they rely on a new dataset based on content analyses of quality newspapers from 1998 to 2007 that enables them to go beyond existing studies, which concentrate on state activities or on mass-level attitudes. The authors demonstrate that above all the relationship between the state and church/Islam, i.e. issue-specific opportunity structures, influences the debates to a great extent.

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