A reappraisal of the Hirschman 'exit, voice and loyalty' scheme to interpret immigrants’ political participation in their origin countries
Title: A reappraisal of the Hirschman 'exit, voice and loyalty' scheme to interpret immigrants’ political participation in their origin countries
Series/Number: Migration Policy Centre; INTERACT Research Report; Conceptual Paper; 2015/11
In this article, we apply Hirschman’s well-known distinction between voice, exit, and loyalty as an interpretative framework for looking at the political participation of immigrants in their origin countries and at their connections with state and non-state actors. Hirschman articulated these three options as mutually exclusive, but in our reappraisal of this scheme we consider these options overlapping and simultaneous. We can then distinguish immigrants’ political actions as constituting a specific combination of these three options. Having already exercised their right to move, immigrants can steer their political activities towards the origin country, following two different options: “voice” or “loyalty”. An exit may lead to the transnationalisation/internationalisation of the voice option or otherwise, to political activities inspired by loyalty towards the origin state. We will also argue that these options are in the hands of immigrants, but can also be promoted by origin states and civil society actors, who may oppose each other on some points. The State of origin’s interest is in maintaining their emigrants’ loyalty option, in spite of the fact that they have used an exit option, or at least searching for a political containment of their citizen abroad. However, civil society groups at origin can try to develop the voice option, through the activities of emigrants, despite (lesser or stronger) opposition from state actors. Finally, we will introduce the assumption that immigrants’ political actions towards their country of origin are related to the interpretation of their exit reasons. When migration is perceived as a consequence of a political situation, the result is a voice option channelling protest jointly with origin societies. On the contrary, when the exit is perceived as more of an economic issue, immigrants maintain stronger links with the origin State and loyalty towards its institutions.
Subject: Hirschman; Immigrant political participation; Countries of origin/emigration countries; transnationalism; Emigration policy; Diaspora policy
INTERACT - Researching Third Country Nationals? Integration as a Three-way Process - Immigrants, Countries of Emigration and Countries of Immigration as Actors of Integration
Type of Access: openAccess
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