SOM Project

Support and Opposition to Migration

Support and Opposition to Migration (SOM) is a collaborative project funded by the European Commission as part of the Seventh Framework Programme. The project looks at the politicization of migration in seven European countries. The aim of this comparative project is to determine why and when potential conflicts over migration become politicized, examining both anti-immigration and anti-racist movements. The project will increase knowledge about the political dynamics related to migration, and provide policy-relevant information.

The project focuses on the role of four types of actors—the state, political parties, movements, and the media—in politicizing, or depoliticizing, the issue of immigration in seven receiving countries: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.

Large-scale migration to European countries led to all sorts of tensions in the receiving countries. The presence of immigrants, however, has not become a politically contested issue everywhere. The ways in which the issue of immigration has become politicized differ significantly across countries.

The dependent variables of the project measure the extent to which and the way in which the issue of immigration became politicized. This will be measured on the basis of claims and counter-claims made by three types of movements: interest groups of immigrants, anti-immigration movements, and anti-racist solidarity groups. A comparative approach will be used to study divergences and convergences between countries.

The aims of the project include:
  • increasing knowledge about conflicts over the social and political participation of immigrants in Western Europe
  • determining why and when potential conflicts become politicized, examining both anti-immigration and anti-racist movements
  • increasing knowledge of how institutional conditions constrain processes of politicization
  • providing policy-relevant information by assessing which actions of state institutions are successful in managing conflict on immigration and integration 

Key Facts

Project Start: 1 October 2009
Project End: 30 September 2012
Coordinator: Université de Neuchâtel
EU Contribution: € 1 496 000
Grant Agreement Number: 225522

The project is coordinated by the Gianni D’Amato. For all enquiries, please contact:

Didier Ruedin
SFM - University of Neuchâtel
Faubourg de l'Hôpital
CH-2000 Neuchâtel

Didier Ruedin,
Mar 25, 2010, 2:32 AM