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Why are Swedes less xenophobic than others?

Research project This study focuses on explaining why people in different countries are xenophobic to different degrees.

This project focuses on explaining how national and local contexts effects xenophobia. The aim is to study why xenophobia varies amongst individuals in different across countries as well as amongst different individuals in different Swedish municipalities. The knowledge about xenophobia is very good in terms of individual characteristics, psychological predispositions, other attitudes and group belongings, but our knowledge is limited when it comes to contextual circumstances. The latter in spite the fact that there are strong reasons to suspect that those play an important role. In a time when the majority of the European countries are becoming increasingly heterogeneous it becomes even more important to understand, explain and counter effect xenophobia. Data for the analysis comes from different attitudinal datasets like the European Social Survey (ESS), the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP).

Head of project

Project overview

Project period:

2008-01-01 2009-12-31

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences

Research area

Sociology

Project description

This project focuses on explaining how national and local contexts effects xenophobia. The aim is to study why xenophobia varies amongst individuals in different across countries as well as amongst different individuals in different Swedish municipalities. It has been assumed that xenophobia increases with experienced threat, like when people perceive that immigrants take their jobs. The experience of threat leads to xenophobia, but in what why is determined by contextual circumstances. The aim is to examine these contextual circumstances. The latter includes socioeconomic development, politics of integration and political articulation at the national level. The same context are in focus at the local level but also factors like levels of crime, the existence of the radical right and political parties in power.

The knowledge about xenophobia is very good in terms of individual characteristics, psychological predispositions, other attitudes and group belongings, but our knowledge is limited when it comes to contextual circumstances. The latter in spite of the fact that there are strong reasons to suspect that those play an important role. In a time when the majority of the European countries are becoming increasingly heterogeneous it becomes even more important to understand, explain and counter effect xenophobia. Data for the analysis comes from different attitudinal datasets like the European Social Survey (ESS), the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). Such attitudinal data is combined with contextual data from the Manifesto group, The Quality of Government Institute, OECD, FN and kommunförbundet.