Talking together? Examining immigrants' and immigrant-origin citizens' commitment to deliberate (Abstract)


Past research has shown that favorable opinion climates in host countries and opportunity structures reinforce each other to enable migrant political participation. However, few studies examine the discursive participation of immigrants and immigrant-origin citizens beyond parties, elections or involvement in associations. We contribute a novel assessment into whether democratic innovations’ promise to make marginalized voices heard are realistic or overstated by investigating the commitment of locally enfranchised immigrants and immigrant-origin citizens to deliberate with one another. Using two large samples (N=3000 each) of registered local and cantonal voters of the canton of Geneva from 2020 and 2021, we find that immigrants with the local right to vote and immigrant-origin citizens were more than twice as likely as their native peers to participate in two in-person deliberative assemblies with fellow residents and citizens. Offering discursive opportunities may thus strengthen incentives for political participation by immigrants and immigrant-origin citizens. However, some of the typical participation biases also found in elections are related to the likelihood to reply, where the younger, the better educated, men, lower-income people and those who have already participated in direct democratic votes were more likely to commit to deliberate. These results contribute a new empirical perspective of the discursive appetite of immigrants and immigrant-origin citizens.

Talking together? Examining immigrants’ and immigrant-origin citizens’ commitment to deliberate (Abstract)
Alexander M. Geisler
Alexander M. Geisler
Postdoctoral researcher

I do research on the theory and practice of political communicatio and participatory innovations.