The research project "The Democratic Legitimation of Immigration Control" is a component project within of the Collaborative Research Center (Sfb 597) "Transformations of the State". The main concerns of this research project are changing processes of legitimation in Democratic Constitutional Interventionist States (DCIS) in the light of increasing internationalisation and nationalisation.
At the centre of our analysis are the changes that immigration control policies are undergoing. The project analyses the characteristic features of the processes of democratic legitimation in the area of immigration policy and describes how they are effected by changing conditions. Immigration control policies are of particular relevance to the study of processes of legitimtion for a number of reasons. Firstly, only in recent years have migration scholars begun to reveal some of the essential legitimacy deficits in this policy area. Decision-making often takes place behind closed doors. Secondly, immigration touches directly on the sovereignty and legitimacy of nation states. It is a policy area that crucially affects the future developments of labour markets, welfare states and national identity and it still remains mainly under national jurisdiction. Nevertheless, immigration control policies in Europe are, thirdly, increasingly influenced by multi-level policy making. This allows an analysis of the impact of Europeanization on changing legitimation processes in a policy area of central concern to national sovereignty and legitimacy. Contrary to most other research on legitimacy, the focus of the democratic process approach applied in this project is not on the political system or individual institutions in question. Rather, empirical research traces and analyses the actual policy-making processes. At the centre of the analysis are the institutions and actors involved (governments, parliaments, political parties, administrations, interest groups, social movements, NGOs, media) and the role they play in these processes. This approach allows a closer look at the processes of legitimation at the national level and at specific national arrangements, but also at the changes that highly fragmented multi-level governance has brought about in the process of European integration. The conceptual framework of the project is two-dimensional. Focussing on normative and empirical aspects of legitimation processes, we will examine, on the one hand, whether decision-making processes that actually take place comply with normative criteria and establish whether central actors make reference to these criteria. On the other hand, policy processes as well as policy outcomes will be analysed in terms of their compliance with specific procedural and material criteria derived from political theory.
The study is comparative in design, covering four European countries (Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden and Spain). Additionally the impact and interactions with the European Union will be analysed.
Final report in German