Immigrants as social agents: allochtones and autochtones

Immigrants as social agents:
allochtones and autochtones

Malakhov V.S.,

Dr. Sc. (Polit. Sci.), Director of the Centre for Political Theory and Applied Political Science, RANEPA,

elibrary_id: 223604 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2015.01.09

For citation:

Malakhov V.S. Immigrants as social agents: allochtones and autochtones. – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No. 1. P. 111-125. (In Russ.).


The fact that a significant portion of the populations of industrialized countries is of immigrant origin («allochthons») provokes sharp public debate and political tensions. Conservative politicians stress the issue of social disintegration, which is considered inevitable due to the alleged cultural incompatibility of the newcomers with the indigenous («autochthonous») population. This paper is focused on allochtones as social subjects in terms of their incorporation into the receiving countries’ social institutions. Allochtones shape a new electorate, become members of the existing political parties and create new ones; integrate into the existing structures of civil society (especially NGOs); and form organizations of their own. Since labor migration in Russia is in its initial stage, there is no ‘second generation’ of immigrants in this country. Trying to imagine how the descendants of migrant laborers may become social agents in the Russian context, I refer to the experience of Western European countries – mainly the UK, France and the Netherlands. In particular, I explore the conditions that brought about the transformation of the newcomers from an «invisible» group into a visible and active component of public life, taking into consideration the forms of their political participation. This study finds that the political behavior of newcomers does not exhibit any features that would indicate their inability or unwillingness to integrate into the institutions of the host country. Allochtones are divided along the same ideological boundaries as the local population; in their voting behavior they generally reproduce patterns of the autochthonous population’s electoral behavior (attitudes toward the political system, motivations for voting the way they do, etc.). The only difference is their ideological preferences: allochtones tend to vote for the left. However, as allochtones enter the middle class, the number of these newcomers who vote for center-right parties increases. Moreover, a significant part of those coming from Asia (not only from Islamic countries), due to their allegiance to ‘traditional values,’ could be considered as potential electorate for local conservatives. As for the parties which claim to represent allochtones (whether on ethnic or religious grounds), they remain tiny organizations and do not enjoy any significant support of the people they aim to represent.

immigration; immigrants; social action; social interaction; political participation; electoral behavior; immigrant integration; «allochtones»; «autochtones»; the Great Britain; the Netherlands; France; Russia.

Content No. 1, 2015

See also:

Polyakov L.V.,
Russians electoral behaviour. – Polis. Political Studies. 2011. No6

Vainshtein G.I.,
Demography factor of the «social state» evolution in Europe. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No6

Lyublinsky V.V.,
The Political Dimension of Social Inequality and Poverty (Comparative Experience). – Polis. Political Studies. 2015. No5

Yakunin V.I.,
The Phenomenon of Euroscepticism in the Context of Electoral Processes in Modern Europe. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No5

Petukhov V.V.,
The generation of the «2000s»: ideological orientations and political participation. – Polis. Political Studies. 2012. No4



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