Representative democracy rests upon the promise that politicians represent the citizens’ interests (substantive representation) and that citizens perceive this representation as satisfactory (subjective responsiveness). Conceived as intermediary actors between the political system and society, political parties play a central role for the success of representative democracy. Migration and its politicization during the “refugee crisis” have posed new challenges for the functioning of democratic representation in Germany. On the one hand, the political preferences of autochthone citizens have become more diverse and polarized. On the other hand, the political integration of immigrants requires that their distinct representative demands are taken up by political parties.
Our research project addresses these challenges of party democracy. It aims at inquiring into the ability of parties to represent the diverse positions and priorities of citizens with regard to integration and immigration policies.