Migration and Politics is a complex issue and it covers more than the well-known attempt of nation states to influence migration by political decisions. The idea of migrants being political caused very different reactions: On the one hand, receiving countries disapproved any political activities and - in some cases - explicitly disciplined migrants for doing so by expelling them at least until the beginning of the sixties. On the other hand, most western European societies at some point discussed the missing political representation of migrants, whose part of the population was growing steadily, when it comes to politics. They tested four possibilities in order to deal with this new democratic dilemma: easier naturalizations, suffrage on different levels without for all inhabitants, a growing 'denizen'-status and advisory boards for migrants. This article focuses on the last possibility and analyses a micro historic case study, an advisory board for foreigners in a small industrial commune in Belgian Wallonia called Seraing, founded in 1973. By using the board's minutes, interviews with members and civil servants of the community and ego documents, this essay explores the different concepts of political participation that were discussed in the board, the internal conflicts as well as factors of group belongings and the relation to the local authorities.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.