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Protest and Reform in Asylum Policy: Citizen Initiatives versus Asylum Seekers in German Municipalities, 1989-1994

Roger Karapin

Many writers have argued that anti-immigration politics in Germany

and other West European countries have been driven by radical-right

parties or the electoral maneuvering of national politicians

from established parties. Others have argued that waves of violence

against immigrants and ethnic minorities have spurred anti-immigration

politics, or that racist ideologies and socioeconomic inequality

are the root causes. By comparison, authors have paid relatively little

attention to anti-immigration mobilization at subnational levels,

including the public positions taken by subnational politicians and

the activities of movement groups, or “challengers.” Nonetheless,

research has shown that subnational politicians are often important

in pressing national campaigns for immigration controls. Moreover,

as I have argued elsewhere, anti-immigration politicians in Britain

and Germany have responded in large part to local challengers, who

were aided by political elites at local and regional levels.

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Explaining Far-Right Electoral Successes in Germany: The Politicization of Immigration-Related Issues

Roger Karapin

Most explanations that have been advanced regarding the recent

successes of far-right parties in Western Europe suggest that these

parties should have also done well in Germany. With a high percapita

income and a strong export-oriented economy, Germany has

experienced large-scale immigration, a shift toward postindustrial

occupations, economic restructuring, unemployment, and social

marginalization of the poorest strata. These socioeconomic developments

have been accompanied by political responses which

should also benefit the far right: political parties have lost credibility, non-voting has increased, and ecological parties have become

established and have spurred environmental, feminist, and proimmigrant

policies.

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Climate Policy Outcomes in Germany: Environmental Performance and Environmental Damage in Eleven Policy Areas

Roger Karapin

Germany has reduced its emissions of greenhouse gases more than almost any other industrialized democracy and is exceeding its ambitious Kyoto commitment. Hence, it is commonly portrayed as a climate-policy success story, but the situation is actually much more complex. Generalizing Germany's per-capita emissions to all countries or its emissions reductions to all industrialized democracies would still very likely produce more than a two-degree rise in global temperature. Moreover, analyzing the German country-case into eleven subcases shows that it is a mixture of relative successes and failures. This analysis leads to three main conclusions. First, high relative performance and high environmental damage can coexist. Second, we should see national cases in a differentiated way and not only in terms of their aggregate performances. Third, researchers on climate policies should more often begin with outcomes, work backward to policies, and be prepared for some surprises. Ironically, the most effective government interventions may not be explicit climate policies, such as the economic transformation of eastern Germany. Moreover, the lack of policy-making in certain areas may undercut progress made elsewhere, including unregulated increases in car travel, road freight, and electricity consumption. Research on climate and environmental policies should focus on somewhat different areas of government intervention and ask different questions.