Political institutions and the challenge of diversity

Karen Schönwälder, Alex Street (now Caroll College, U.S.A.) and Michalis Moutselos (now University of Cyprus, Nikosia) •
Former staff members: Cihan Sinanoglu, Daniel Volkert

How do the political institutions and the political lives of countries, cities, and supranational units reflect the diversity of their populations? What does an immigrant or an ethnic minority background mean for the ability to participate politically and to aspire to political power? Such overall questions motivate a number of projects, completed and ongoing. Following studies of immigrant representation, the project turns to interactions between representatives and electorates. Based on a survey of potential voters in local elections in the regional state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, the project demonstrates that ‘common fate’, i.e., ethnic minority or migration background, is not the only motivation for supporting immigrant political representation. Rather, support for minority political presence may have become part of a more general commitment to cosmopolitan values and inclusive democratic institutions. 

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