Congress of the French Political Science Association (AFSP).

Aix-en-Provence (F), 22-24 June 2015

Call for papers: Thematic section #5: Sociology of External Voting


Conveners : Thibaut Jaulin (CERI/Sciences Po) & Jean-Michel Lafleur

(CEDEM/Université de Liège)



This thematic section aims at confronting original research on external voting. This practice has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years as researchers interested in transnational migration have shown that, besides money, migrant are able remit norms, values and practices (Levitt, 1998). Even though international organizations often associate external voting with democratization, the practice is not exempt of issues such as strong abstention and corporatism (Itzigsohn et Villacrés, 2008).


With this thematic section, we first intend to break with the idea that the practice of external voting is a marginal research topic because of the supposed lack of interest of voters associated with low turnout. In fact, because registration and voting procedures are often burdensome when it comes to voting from abroad, it can rarely be considered as a reliable indicator of immigrants’ interests in home country politics (Lafleur, 2013).


Second, we wish to support the development of a dynamic approach in the study of transnational political opinions. Migration scholars have made limited use so far of political sociology methods in the study of external voting. Yet, multi-sited surveys, multi-level analysis and geographical analysis of voters’ behaviour are tools that have shown promising results in different studies on European, Latin American and African elections (Escobar, 2014 ; Lafleur et Sanchez, 2014 ; Dedieu, 2013, Jaulin, 2014).


This thematic session therefore aims at feeding two parallel debates. First, we want to reflect on the applicability of electoral sociology tools to the study of external voting. Questions such as these should be discussed: What use for multi-sited surveys? How can we map votes cast abroad? How reliable are migration statistics in the study of external voting? How can we contextualize local and transnational dimensions that characterize this vote? Second, we want to focus particularly on the electoral behaviour (turnout and electoral choices) of expatriates: Do voters abroad behave differently than resident voters? How does the migration experience affect immigrants’ votes? What role do political parties and immigrant associations play in these elections? Are there connections between external voting and the right of foreigners to vote in host country elections?


We welcome all proposals in French or English (max 500 words, with name of author(s), institutional affiliation, title of paper and references) by 15 October 2015.


Contact : thibaut.jaulin >at<


JM.Lafleur >at<


Dedieu, J-P. ; Chauvet, L. ; Gubert, F. ; Mesplé-Somps, S. ; Smith, E. (2013) « Les ‘batailles’ de Paris et de New York. Une analyse du comportement électoral transnational des migrants sénégalais en France et aux États-Unis. » Revue française de science politique, t. 63, n° 5, pp. 865-892.

Escobar, C. ; Arana, R. ; McCann, J. A. (2014) « Expatriate voting and migrants’ place of residence: Explaining transnational participation in Colombian élections », Migration Studies, 31 p. (in press).

Itzigsohn, J. ; Villacrés, D. (2008) « Migrant political transnationalism and the practice of democracy: Dominican external voting rights and Salvadoran home town associations », Ethnic and Racial Studies, t. 31, n° 4, p. 664-686

Jaulin, T. (2014) « Les territoires du vote à distance : l’élection tunisienne de 2011 à l’étranger », L’ Espace politique, (in press).

Lafleur, J-M. ; Sánchez-Domínguez, M. (2014) « The political choices of emigrants voting in home country elections: A socio-political analysis of the electoral behaviour of Bolivian external voters », Migration Studies, 27 p. (in press).

Lafleur, J-M. (2013) Transnational Politics and the State. The External Voting Rights of Diaspora, New York and London: Routledge, 190 p.

Levitt, P. (1998) « Social remittances: migration driven local-level forms of cultural diffusion », The International migration review, n°32, pp. 926-48.


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