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Seminar: Inge Hendriks

Time Friday 26 November, 2021 at 13:15 - 14:30
Place Zoom

Welcome to a seminar with Inge Hendriks from Radboud University in the Netherlands, where Inge will present the first two papers from her dissertation. Inge is on her last year of her PhD studies and writes her doctoral dissertation on resistance to refugees and immigrants. She studies to what extent attitudes towards these minority groups have changed over the past ten years, and which individual and contextual characteristics can explain these changes. She furthermore studies to what extent people differentiate between immigrants and refugees in their attitudes.

Individual Dynamics in Attitudes Towards Ethnic Minorities and the Role of Changing Economic Situations

In many European countries, immigration and the settlement of ethnic minorities have become highly politicized, with rising tensions observed between those who welcome ethnic minorities and those who resist settlement of these. Up to now, relatively little attention has been paid to the dynamics in intergroup relations. In my dissertation, I test realistic conflict theory from a dynamic perspective to get more insight about whether and how individuals’ attitudes towards ethnic minorities have changed.

In my first study, I employ Dutch panel data to examine whether individuals’ attitudes towards ethnic minorities have changed over the 2008-2018 period. I found that attitudes towards ethnic minorities were remarkably stable. The small changes that did occur over the 10-year study period were hardly explained by economic characteristics. Only increased individual dissatisfaction with the national financial situation was associated with more negative attitudes. A replication for the Swiss case largely corroborated these results.

In my second study, I shift focus to a group who is, according to the ‘impressionable years’-hypothesis, more likely to change in their attitudes: adolescents. I analysed Swiss panel data and found that about one in five adolescents changed from being in favour of equality of opportunities to rejecting equal opportunities for foreigners, or the other way around. These within-individual changes could hardly be explained by changes in adolescents’ or the household’s economic situation. Socialisation theories on direct parental influences appeared to better explain these changes.

Even though ample of studies have supported the static version of realistic conflict theory, my dissertation signifies that the dynamic version of realistic conflict theory does not very well explain differences within individuals. Dynamically testing theories on intergroup relations confronts us with a larger puzzle about the stability rather than variability of attitudes towards ethnic minorities, and with differences between the static and the dynamic versions of these theories.

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Event type: Seminar
Maureen A. Eger
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Josefina Frech
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