Migration, Citizenship and Public Perceptions

Rueyling Tzeng (MPC Visiting Fellow)

Lenka Drazanova (MPC Research Associate)

19 November 2019, 11:00–12:30, Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca

As part of its seminar series, the Migration Policy Centre will host the following presentations:

Threat, Contact and Social Relationships: Public Perceptions of Immigrants in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Austria

The large literature on immigrant integration is primarily focused on ways that immigrants assimilate economically, socially, and politically into their host societies, while generally overlooking the perspectives of native citizens. Since integration entails relational concepts involving the reciprocal positions of migrants and natives, public perceptions of social relationships with immigrants are clearly important. However, researchers have shown a tendency to overemphasize the acceptance or rejection of increases in immigration flow when analysing public attitudes. This research is based on the belief that social relations provide more detailed information than abstract ideas about immigration flow regarding social interaction contexts. I use the concept of social distance as described by Emory Bogardus to define six dimensions of social relations—specifically, I look at how natives feel about having immigrants as family members, friends, neighbours, managers, colleagues, or personal physicians. A data set from Eurobarometer 88.2 (October 2017) is used to analyse how threat theory and contact theory explain public perceptions of social relations between natives and immigrants in Italy, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Austria, and to identify patterns and differences among them.

Blame it on My Youth: The Origins of Attitudes Towards Immigration

This paper investigates how the political climate during a person’s youth affects his or her attitudes towards immigration in adulthood. We analyse why cohorts formulate distinct patterns in attitudes towards immigration through a collective process of political socialization during the formative years. The theoretical arguments are tested using hierarchical age-period-cohort modelling across twelve cohorts in nine European countries using micro attitudinal data (2002 – 2016) integrated with historical macro political data. We find that contextual exposure to principles of equality and tradition in the formative political climate are central to the formulation of a person’s attitudes towards immigration later in life. While the prevalence of the principle of equality affects immigration attitudes in adulthood positively, the principle of tradition does so negatively. The findings imply that even subtle and cyclical shifts in national politics affect the political orientations of those undergoing the process of political socialization.

Benoit Vaillot

Doctorant en histoire Arche EA 3400 (Université de Strasbourg) / PhD Researcher (European University Institute, Florence). Coordinateur du séminaire doctoral « Nationalism Working Group » hébergé à l'Institut Universitaire Européen.

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