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ESRA 2023 Preliminary Glance Program

All time references are in CEST

Attitudes towards migrant and intergroups dynamics: insights from survey research

Session Organiser Dr Veronica Riniolo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan)
TimeThursday 20 July, 09:00 - 10:30
Room U6-11

This session explores attitudes toward migration and intergroup dynamics in different EU countries. It
offers both a cross-national comparison of attitudes toward ethnic groups in several EU countries
and it proposes a focus on two national contexts, Germany and Belgium.
Different factors - at micro, meso, and macro level - are considered in the analysis of intergroup
dynamics, such as low SES, feelings of insecurity and marginalization, the role of urban
environment, and the role of the same composition of refugee flow, considering the refugee sex
ratio, on the attitudes towards migration. In addition to this, the panel offers a reflection on the
consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic on the attitudes toward ethnic minorities.
These multiple perspectives and different empirical studies stimulate a theoretical and
methodological reflection on how to study attitudes toward ethnic minorities. It also offers fresh
insights on the most recent evolution on intergroup dynamics in Europe in the light of the most
recent crises.

Keywords: intergroup dynamics, attitudes toward ethnic groups

How attitudes towards refugees are shaped by the sex ratio of inflows: Evidence from an online survey experiment

Miss Chia-Jung Tsai (Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research) - Presenting Author
Dr Robert Gordon Rinderknecht (Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research)
Professor John Palmer (Pompeu Fabra University)
Professor Emilio Zagheni (Max-Planck Institute for Demographic Research)

This study investigates the extent to which the sex ratio of refugee populations can shape attitudes toward these populations in Germany. Recent empirical work by Dancygier et al. (2022) links anti-immigrant hate crimes in Germany with mate competition in areas where refugee populations' sex ratios are skewed toward men. We build on this work by using a vignette survey experiment to explore the relationship between native attitudes and varying refugee sex ratios in Germany. Respondents are recruited through Facebook Advertising Manager to ensure the demographic and geographic distribution of our target respondents.

The ultimate scapegoat? Analyzing the role of social resentment in ethnic threat perceptions in Belgium

Mr Guido Priem (KU Leuven) - Presenting Author
Professor Cecil Meeusen (KU Leuven)
Dr Koen Abts (KU Leuven)
Professor Bart Meuleman (KU Leuven)

Efforts to reduce the disadvantaged position of ethnic minorities are often met with resistance from parts of the majority population, especially among those in socially and economically vulnerable positions. According to Group Conflict Theory, this prejudice can be understood as a defensive reaction originating from a perception that their ingroups interests are threatened. To improve policies aiming to improve the position of ethnic minorities, it is therefore crucial to better understand where these feelings of threat are coming from. This study will look at the role of social resentment, hypothesizing that experiences of insecurity, marginalization and injustice among low-SES individuals are projected onto immigrants, who are perceived to be responsible for their contemporary anxieties. However, we crucially argue that ethnic threat is a multifaceted concept, being linked to concerns over economic interests, cultural identity and political power of the ingroup. This study therefore will expand the understanding of the relationship between social resentment and threat by looking at different aspects of intergroup threat: economic, cultural, power and security threat. Moreover, we empirically elaborate on the concept of social resentment by studying different components such as feelings of status insecurity, relative group deprivation, powerlessness, injustice and societal pessimism. Using data from the Belgian National election Studies (BNES) of 2020 consisting of over 1500 randomly selected Belgian citizens, we have access to a unique battery of questions measuring economic, cultural, status and safety threat in relation to immigrants. Using Structural Equation Modelling, we link these types of threat to different aspects of social resentment, assessing if these subjective experiences amplify different kinds of threat perceptions. Lastly, we measure to what extent these experiences mediate the effect between socio-structural conditions and threat perceptions, exploring if the social structuring of threat perceptions can be explained by subjective experiences of social resentment.

Understanding the impact of the pandemic crisis on attitudes toward immigration and multiple discrimination. Evidence from the European Social Survey

Dr Veronica Riniolo (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan) - Presenting Author
Dr Vera Lomazzi (University of Bergamo)

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – and of its consequent economic crisis – on the intergroup relationships has not been deeply investigated so far, often because of lack of data. Recently released data from the 10th round of the European Social Survey, combined with round 9th, allows for investigating this issue by using data collected before and after the pandemic outbreak. Building on the Group Conflict Theory, the Group Relative Deprivation, and Schwartz’s and Inglehart’s Value Theories, we aim addressing the following research questions: 1) How do attitudes toward immigration and the perception of ethnic groups as a threat change after the Covid-19 pandemic in EU countries? 2) to what extent contextual factors, such as the Political Opportunity Structure (POS) and economic conditions, contribute explaining these changes while controlling for individual factors? Our preliminary analysis shows that, after the pandemic crisis and in opposition to our initial hypotheses, negative attitudes towards ethnic groups decreased in several EU countries, but not in all countries and not with the same intensity. The role of contextual factors, such as economic conditions, is crucial to explain this heterogeneity. The consequences of the crisis may have impacted on the priorities of EU citizens and immigration was no longer at the centre of the public debate. Therefore, alongside descriptive statistics, we apply multilevel modelling to contribute explaining these changes while controlling for individual factors.

Support for radical political behavior as an outcome of acculturation (mis)fit and symbolic threat of Belgian majority members

Ms Rosa Lee Van Valkenberg (KU Leuven) - Presenting Author
Professor Cecil Meeusen (KU Leuven)
Professor Karen Phalet (KU Leuven)
Dr Katrin Arnadottir (KU Leuven)

A substantial proliferation in the movement of people has been observed in the last two decades. Many European countries have been attempting to ascertain how to facilitate the integration of ethnic minorities. This paper will explore the potential consequences that may hinder social cohesion when considering the misalignment of majority acculturation expectations and perceptions. We will examine how Belgian majority members’ acculturation attitudes relate to the support for radical political behaviors (for example, support for violent protests) towards Moroccan and Turkish minority members.

We contribute to the field by spotlighting majority perspectives on acculturation. We examine how Belgian majority members’ acculturation attitudes relate to the support for radical political behaviors towards Moroccan and Turkish minority members, assessing the role of symbolic threat (i.e., perceived threats to cultural norms, values, and ways of life). Previous research suggests that symbolic threat is among one of the strongest determinants of anti-Muslim sentiment. The majority may react negatively to a perceived desire for cultural maintenance by minority members if the majority perceives the minority’s cultural background as incompatible.

Acculturation expectation is the majority’s preference for host and heritage cultural maintenance of minority members. Acculturation perception is the majority’s perception of the minority’s preference. Acculturation mis(fit) occurs when the expectations and perceptions are not in alignment. We expect that a high degree of misfit (for example, expecting assimilation but perceiving separation) will influence majorities’ position towards radical political behaviors as an attempt to maintain their cultural status quo.

Structural equation modeling will be used from the Belgian National Election Survey 2019 (BNES) random sampling design data of a nationally representative sample (n = 1659). We will examine various degrees of acculturation (mis)fit as the independent variable, symbolic threat as the mediator, and radical political behavior as the outcome.

Using OpenStreetMap, Census and Survey Data to Predict Interethnic Group Relations in Belgium: A Machine Learning Approach

Ms Daria Dementeva (KU Leuven) - Presenting Author
Professor Cecil Meeusen (KU Leuven)
Professor Bart Meuleman (KU Leuven)

Over the past decades, spurred anti-immigration rhetoric, the success of radical parties, the overall political polarization coupled with a transformation of a majority of Belgian neighborhoods into areas with diverse ethnolinguistic profiles, cultural mix, and in-migration, accelerated exposure to negative attitude formation towards people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.

To date, the quantitative scholarship on interethnic group relations only sporadically focused on the residential context. Although empirical research on the link between attitudes towards ethnic minority groups and local neighborhood context produced mixed results, it does remain scarce. While objective and subjective measures of neighborhood (dis)advantage and ethnic composition were employed to contextualize intergroup relations, another natural aspect of neighborhood context, such as the spatial organization of interethnic contact opportunities in residential areas tends to be neglected.

The components of the urban built environment, such as local leisure spaces, shopping facilities, catering venues, and points of worship are building blocks for enhancing social life in neighborhoods as they act as shared exact spaces for (in)direct contact, intercultural mixing, increasing social capital, and civil inattention between residents of different ethnic and religious backgrounds. Thus, we seek to answer the following questions: What is the relationship between attitudes towards people of different ethnic origins and the urban built environment? To what extent may urban destinations of neighborhoods explain these attitudes, and which are the most salient? We draw on a combination of random probability survey data, census data, and geodata obtained from the OpenStreetMap, which is a global database of spatial attributes with a granular spatiotemporal resolution.

We present and discuss the predictive spaces of the built environment for interethnic group relations by applying machine learning algorithms for prediction and spatial feature engineering to describe the residential built environment in the Belgian context.