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Ethnic Minorities in Local Politics

Comparing Amsterdam and Paris

MICHON Laure

Février 2011

Thèse publiée en 2011, Université d'Amsterdam, Sieca Repro, Delft, Pays-Bas

Many of us believe that our elected assemblies should reflects the diversity of society in some way, so as to ensure a better quality of the deliberative process and the legitimacy of political decisions. However, suspicions easily arise about the ability of politicians to strive for the common good. In Western European politics, this potential tension particularly comes into play as ethnic minority politicians are concerned. Their visibility as "others" turns them into outsiders almost by definition, and leads to them being questioned about who and what they actually represent.

This dissertation addresses the question of the role of ethnicity in politics by looking at the access of ethnic minority politicians to local councils, the development of their careers, and their discourses on political representation. This is done across two cities, namely Amsterdam and Paris, and over time, comparing the early 1990s and the present situation.

The author, Laure Michon, is a political scientist and conducted her PhD research at the Institude for Migration and Ethnic Studies of the University of Amsterdam.

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