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How the religious context affects the relationship between religiosity and attitudes toward immigration
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2013 (English)In: Ethnic and Racial Studies, ISSN 0141-9870, E-ISSN 1466-4356, Vol. 37, no 6, 937-957 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article approaches two shortcomings in previous research on religiosity and prejudice: (1) the lack of cross-country comparative studies; and (2) a failure to consider any moderating effects of religious contexts. We examine whether the relationship between religiosity and anti-immigration attitudes varies depending on religious contexts in Europe, and we find two things. First, strongly religious people are on average less likely to oppose immigration than non-religious people. Second, different religious contexts moderate the religiosity–attitude relationship in that religious people in Protestant countries and in countries with a low proportion of majority adherents are more tolerant than religious people in Catholic countries and in religiously homogenous countries. State policies also matter in that religious people are more negative where the government favours the majority religion. This calls into question the taken-for-granted understanding of religiosity and out-group attitudes found in the USA.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2013. Vol. 37, no 6, 937-957 p.
Keyword [en]
immigation, religion, Europe, prejudice, xenophobia, comparative
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-71404DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2012.748210ISI: 000335947100001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-71404DiVA: diva2:623729
Available from: 2013-05-28 Created: 2013-05-28 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Anti-immigrant attitudes in context: The role of rhetoric, religion and political representation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anti-immigrant attitudes in context: The role of rhetoric, religion and political representation
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background. This thesis directs attention to how attitudes towards immigrants evolve under different contextual circumstances. Unlike previous research that primarily focuses on contextual factors related to the availability of material resources, the included studies explore the influence of less tangible aspects of our surroundings, brought together under the term immaterial contexts. Three kinds of immaterial contexts are in focus: political representatives’ use of nationalistic rhetoric, the parliamentary presence of the extreme right, and the religious context. The studies examine the direct effects of these contexts, but also how individuals’ beliefs, loyalties, and experiences interact with the contextual factors to shape peoples’ attitudes.

Methods. The thesis takes a comparative approach where countries serve as the main contextual unit. Data on attitudes and other individual features are gathered from the European Social Survey 2002-2012. To be able to analyze these data in the same model as used for country-level data, the thesis applies multi-level models.

Results. The findings support a theoretical expectation that immaterial contexts influence anti-immigrant attitudes. How people perceive immigrants and immigration can be traced to political and religious aspects of their surroundings. Also, it is found that individuals are not passive recipients of contextual influences as their reactions depend on their preferences and experiences. While political representatives influence anti-immigrant attitudes, these effects are strongly conditional both on features of the representatives themselves, and on characteristics and experiences of individuals. For example, individuals respond to political rhetoric by traditional political parties but are not influenced by the same kind of message if conveyed by a party belonging to the extreme right.

Conclusion. The thesis is an attempt to widen the very notion of contexts in empirical research, and as such, it is a contribution to the literature on anti-immigrant attitudes. It shows that anti-immigrant attitudes depend not only on material circumstances, but also on immaterial circumstances tied to the political and religious arena. Further, the thesis demonstrates how combining the theoretical perspectives of group threat theory and framing theory implies greater possibilities to conceive of the link between contexts and attitudes, as well as improved theoretical tools to understand when and why such effects do not occur. It signals that research on immaterial contexts is necessary to further advance the comparative scholarship on anti-immigrant attitudes and reach a deeper understanding of how such attitudes emerge and evolve.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 35 p.
Series
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 73
Keyword
Anti-immigrant attitudes, immaterial contexts, political framing, political parties, religious context, Europe.
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88221 (URN)978-91-7601-052-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-05-23, Norra Beteendevetarhuset, Hörsal 1031 Nbvh, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-04-30 Created: 2014-04-28 Last updated: 2014-04-30Bibliographically approved

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