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In the wake of extreme right electoral success: A cross-country comparative study of anti-immigration attitudes over time
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This article tests a theoretically assumed relationship between the parliamentary presence of extreme right parties (ERP) and anti-immigration attitudes over time. Data come from six rounds of the European Social Survey between 2002 and 2012 and cover the 16 European countries that participated in all rounds during this time. Using multi-level models with applications for repeated cross-sectional data, the study examines the implications of changes tied to the political advancements of the extreme right with a focus on three possible scenarios: people’s attitudes about immigration have generally become more negative, opposition towards immigration has become more dependent on immigrants’ ethnicity, and attitudes towards immigration have become more polarized. Contrary to expectations, it is found that neither the presence, the representational strength, nor the nationalistic framing of an ERP affect opposition towards immigration over time. Thus, the conclusion is that the ERPs, so far, have not driven anti-immigration attitudes in Europe. Possible explanations for these results are discussed in the concluding section.

Keyword [en]
ERP, immigration, prejudice, political representation, over time
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-88216OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-88216DiVA: diva2:714402
Available from: 2014-04-28 Created: 2014-04-28 Last updated: 2014-04-29Bibliographically 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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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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