Changes in resistance to the social integration of foreigners in Germany 1980-2000: Individual and contextual determinants
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SourceJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34, 1, (2008), pp. 1-26
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
SW OZ NISCO MT
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
SubjectInequality Cohesion Rationalization; Ongelijkheid Cohesie Rationalisatie
In this article we analyse the change in unfavourable attitudes towards foreigners among the (West) German public over a period of two decades. Applying pooled survey data from 1980 to 2000, we found an overall trend towards less resistance to the social integration of foreigners, only interrupted by a minor increase between 1994 and 1996. We tested hypotheses derived from Ethnic Group Conflict Theory with regard to individual and contextual determinants of the resistance to the social integration of foreigners. National statistics were applied to indicate the societal context at the time of survey measurement (period characteristics) and during the adolescent years of respondents (cohort characteristics). Resistance to the social integration of foreigners was particularly strong among people with lower education, manual workers, the petty bourgeoisie and the unemployed. Furthermore, older respondents as well as those who were confronted with high unemployment during their adolescent years showed stronger resistance. With regard to period characteristics, we found that stronger resistance to the social integration of foreigners was not related to higher levels of unemployment and foreign immigration, but instead to recent increases in unemployment and foreign immigration. This suggests that it is not the actual level of ethnic competition, but the increasing level of ethnic competition that boosts negative attitudes toward foreigners.
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