Ownership Claims in Western Europe

Western European immigration countries (UK, the Netherlands, France)

Western European nations have only been immigration countries for a few decades. In these countries, there is a dominant ethnic majority that can claim ownership of the territory on grounds such as first occupancy, past defense and labour (e.g. Dutch people literally creating land by draining the sea). Immigrant minorities cannot put forward convincing narratives of territorial ownership, meaning that the historical reasons behind dominant group’s claims are generally not contested. Yet, there might be considerable variation within these countries in the extent to which members of dominant ethnic groups think that the country belongs more to their ingroup due to history. We examine whether this variation can be explained by the variation in psychological needs, and whether the dominant group’s endorsement of the idea that their ingroup historically owns the country more relates to opposition to immigrants. We study this in three countries that have large immigrant minorities and strong anti-immigrant parties because these are the contexts where CPO claims are put forward in political debates. Therefore, we focus on the Netherlands, UK (specifically, England) and France. These countries also differ in many respects, including minority integration policies, and showing that the processes around CPO are similar will render the findings more robust.

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