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Civic Integration as Symbolic Politics: Insights from Austria

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Abstract This article draws insights from Austria in order to analyze if civic integration policies constitute an exclusionary tool of migration control and acculturation. In order to do so, the article presents an analytical framework operationalizing the notion of exclusion for civic integration policies, and applies this framework to systematically collected data on the agenda-setting, legal formulation, implementation, and outcomes of civic integration conditions in Austria. The findings show that civic integration in Austria has thus far not been primarily used as an exclusionary tool. Rather, integration conditions on the acquisition of membership rights can be understood as an instance of symbolic politics, where the primary aim of the policy is to send the restrictive message that the government is controlling and reducing immigration and promoting assimilation, albeit the policy was not designed to achieve these material effects.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political Science, University of Vienna Vienna Austria


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