Dilemmas of Inclusion
Muslims in European Politics
Rafaela M. Dancygier
As Europe’s Muslim communities continue to grow, so does their impact on electoral politics and the potential for inclusion dilemmas. In vote-rich enclaves, Muslim views on religion, tradition, and gender roles can deviate sharply from those of the majority electorate, generating severe trade-offs for parties seeking to broaden their coalitions. Dilemmas of Inclusion explains when and why European political parties include Muslim candidates and voters, revealing that the ways in which parties recruit this new electorate can have lasting consequences.
Drawing on original evidence from thousands of electoral contests in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Great Britain, Rafaela Dancygier sheds new light on when minority recruitment will match up with existing party positions and uphold electoral alignments and when it will undermine party brands and shake up party systems. She demonstrates that when parties are seduced by the quick delivery of ethno-religious bloc votes, they undercut their ideological coherence, fail to establish programmatic linkages with Muslim voters, and miss their opportunity to build cross-ethnic, class-based coalitions. Dancygier highlights how the politics of minority inclusion can become a testing ground for parties, showing just how far their commitments to equality and diversity will take them when push comes to electoral shove.
Providing a unified theoretical framework for understanding the causes and consequences of minority political incorporation, and especially as these pertain to European Muslim populations, Dilemmas of Inclusion advances our knowledge about how ethnic and religious diversity reshapes domestic politics in today’s democracies.
Rafaela M. Dancygier is associate professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. She is the author of Immigration and Conflict in Europe.