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Immigration policy-making beyond 'Western liberal democracies'

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Speaker: Katharina Natter is a doctoral researcher within the Migration as Development (MADE) project at the University of Amsterdam. She holds a Research Master in Comparative Politics with a minor in Middle East-North African studies from Sciences Po, Paris (2012). Her PhD focusses on the politics of immigration in Morocco and Tunisia and more generally on the role of political systems and state formation in migration policymaking. From 2013-2015, she worked at the International Migration Institute (University of Oxford). Katharina is also actively involved in Asylos, an NGO researching country of origin information for lawyers representing asylum seekers in European courts. Summary: How do political systems shape immigration policy-making? Explicitly or implicitly, existing immigration policy theories have suggested a ‘regime effect’ by linking specific dynamics of immigration policy to liberal democracy. Their focus on ‘Western liberal democracies’ however has left immigration policy-making in other political systems strikingly undertheorized. This presentation calls for a more nuanced theorizing of immigration policymaking by moving beyond simplistic dichotomies of Western/non-Western and democratic/autocratic. The need for such theoretical expansion beyond the ‘Western’ and ‘liberal’ bubble is illustrated by an analysis of 21st century immigration policymaking in Morocco’s monarchy as opposed to Tunisia’s democratizing system. Investigating the role of political systems in immigration politics, the paper seeks to contribute to a more global theorization of immigration policies.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Migration Society series.

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