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Public discourse on minorities: how discursive opportunities shape representative patterns in the Netherlands and the UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Nermin Aydemir
Department of Political Science and International Relations, Antalya Bilim University, Antalya, Turkey. Email:
Rens Vliegenthart
Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Recent literature on discursive opportunities shows broad consensus on the importance of media communication in determining the success of minority mobilization. However, the impact of media discourse on formal forms of political participation is less clear. This article examines to what extent, if any, media coverage on immigrant minorities shapes the parliamentary activities of “minority representatives” in the Netherlands and the UK. We investigate whether salience and tone on minorities have impact on how often and in what ways minority members of parliament address ethnic and/or religious constituencies. To study this relationship between media coverage and parliamentary activity, we conduct two separate content analyses of parliamentary questions and newspapers between 2002 and 2012 in the Netherlands and the UK. Multivariate analyses reveal that a more negative tone in newspaper coverage results in more suppressive framing in the Dutch parliament. Our findings for the British case indicate a negative effect of media salience and minority presence on parliamentary salience.

Special Section: Representation of minorities: perspectives and challenges Guest Editors: Licia Cianetti and Jelena Lončar
Copyright © 2018 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

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