ABSTRACT

The question of the democratic participation of immigrants has been the object of an extensive, theoretical and empirical literature. Nevertheless, we still lack detailed information on those internal dynamics of political parties which shape patterns of participation and representation of immigrants and their descendants, especially in Spain. We focus on how immigrants incorporate political parties in Spain and how this mode of incorporation influences the opportunities for immigrants to access elite positions and candidacies. On the one hand we examine individual trajectories in accessing and evolving in parties and, on the other hand, party strategies to reach out and include immigrants. We acknowledge a persisting gap between the access and participation in political parties, which has been facilitated over recent years, and the many obstacles in accessing elite and candidate positions in Spain.