The legitimacy of European Union migration and asylum policy among the Czech public

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KROTKÝ Jan JAWORSKY Bernadette Nadya KANIOK Petr

Year of publication 2023
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Sociologický časopis
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Web article - open access
Keywords EU attitudes; migration attitudes; legitimacy; cultural sociology; narratives
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Description In this study, we contribute to scholarly work on European Union (EU) legitimacy with regard to migration and asylum policy. We do so through an in-depth exploration of the relationship between attitudes towards the EU and migration among the Czech public. Even though there is a body of literature focusing on this topic, there is a gap when it comes to understanding its complexities, especially concerning ‘pro-immigrant’ and ‘pro-European’ positions. We bring a cultural-sociological perspective on meaning-making processes into conversation with theories on the legitimacy of the EU, an analytical move that helps us reveal the nuances in attitudes towards the EU and migration. Our results unpack the narratives surrounding the EU and migration and highlight the apparent cleavage between the ‘pro-immigrant’ and ‘anti-immigrant’ discourses that underpin migration attitudes among the Czech public. We find that notwithstanding some divisiveness, there exists considerable convergence along the three dimensions of legitimacy: input, output and throughput. Indeed, both camps challenge EU legitimacy, but they do so for different reasons and focus on different dimensions. The output aspect of EU legitimacy is the most problematic and criticised within both types of discourse. The input dimension is problematic only within the ‘anti-immigrant’ discourse, and the throughput dimension of EU legitimacy is rather neglected within both discourses. In empirical terms, these findings imply that, in the eyes of the Czech public, the EU—even for those who accept it as a legitimate actor with regard to asylum and migration policy—fails to deliver satisfactory results.
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