Xenophobia and Anti-Europeanism: The Relevance of National and European Identities for Explaining Tolerance Towards Immigrants

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
JWS - Room J7 (J361) (University of Glasgow)
Livia García-Faroldi , University of Malaga, Spain
Since 2008, the EU has been experiencing a profound crisis that is not only economic but also political. The Eurobarometers show that the percentage of people who believe their country has not benefitted from being an EU member has increased. In addition, the presence of extreme-right parties has grown recently in several democracies in the EU, such as the UK Independence Party and the Golden Dawn in Greece. All of these parties share not only an anti-European but also an anti-immigrant discourse.
Using data from the Eurobarometer 71.3 (2009) for eleven countries from the Euro-zone, we test different theories that explain determinants of attitudes towards immigrants. Data show that holding broadest identities (feeling European and citizen of the world) and supporting the European Union are associated to tolerance towards immigration. The theory of self-interest - which postulates that those who compete more directly with immigrants on the labour market are less tolerant- is not confirmed, whereas perceived group theory - which predicts that xenophobia is greater in countries with lower GDP, higher percentage of immigrants and in difficult economic situation- is corroborated. Nevertheless, the best model is the one which analyse each country separately. These findings demonstrate that it is necessary to take into account the national contexts and the historical and cultural traditions of each country to understand how prejudices towards immigrants develop.
  • Paper Livia Garcia-Faroldi.pdf (84.6 kB)