European Attitudes Towards Immigrants: Exploring Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Welfare Chauvinism in Contemporary Europe
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- Institutt for sosialt arbeid 
This doctoral thesis investigates different aspects of attitudes towards immigrants in contemporary Europe. It explores welfare chauvinism, anti-immigrant attitudes, anti-Muslim attitudes and racist attitudes. This is done on several different levels across four peer-reviewed articles. It begins with an article investigating anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attitudes in 34 European countries across a 27-year time period. Following this, the next article explores welfare chauvinism across 19 European countries in 2016. Finally, the two remaining articles each explore welfare chauvinistic and racist attitudes, respectively, in what is often considered the most tolerant and intolerant parts of Europe, the Nordic countries and Central and Eastern Europe. The main findings of this doctoral thesis provide insight into how individuals respond to immigration across countries and thereby contribute to the understanding of how to alleviate tension between immigrants and members of the majority populations. Several conclusions can be drawn. The first of these is that there is a worrying trend of intolerance towards outgroups in Eastern Europe, which has continued to grow since 1999. In Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, high levels of intolerance towards immigrants with a different skin colour can also be found across the political spectrum before the refugee crisis of 2015–2016. I explain that this is largely due to the low levels of immigration in Eastern Europe, which prevents intergroup contact to break some of the stereotypes majority populations have towards immigrants. In contrast, Western European countries have a long history of immigration, and another prevalent finding is that Western Europeans are becoming increasingly tolerant of immigrants. This thesis also investigates welfare chauvinism in Europe and finds that the more objective macroeconomic conditions of a country are poor predictors of welfare chauvinistic attitudes. Individuals’ perceptions of macroeconomic conditions, such as the economic situation of the country and the state of the health services, seem to be more relevant for understanding the phenomenon. This is important, as individuals often have flawed perceptions of reality. In the Nordic region, welfare chauvinism was found to be mostly directed towards culturally dissimilar immigrants. Additionally, the most exclusionary form of welfare chauvinism appears to be almost non-existent among countries in this region, whereas a more moderate form is very prevalent. It also needs emphasizing that these moderate forms of welfare chauvinism are more exclusionary than current policies are in all three of the countries sampled, which may indicate declining support for the Nordic universal welfare state.
Has partsPaper 1: Bell, David Andreas; Valenta, Marko; Strabac, Zan. A comparative analysis of changes in anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attitudes in Europe: 1990–2017. Comparative Migration Studies 2021 ;Volum 9. s. 1-24 https://doi.org/10.1186/s40878-021-00266-w This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Paper 2: Bell, David Andreas; Valenta, Marko; Strabac, Zan. Perceptions and realities: Explaining welfare chauvinism in Europe. - The final published version is available in Journal of European Social Policy 2023 https://doi.org/10.1177/09589287231158019 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License CC-BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Paper 3: Bell, David Andreas; Valenta, Marko; Strabac, Zan. Nordic welfare chauvinism: A comparative study of welfare chauvinism in Sweden, Norway and Finland. International Social Work 2022 https://doi.org/10.1177/00208728221094419 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License CC-BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Paper 4: Bell, David Andreas; Strabac, Zan; Valenta, Marko. The Importance of Skin Colour in Central Eastern Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Racist Attitudes in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. Central and Eastern European Migration Review 2022 ;Volum 11.(1) s. 5-22 https://doi.org/10.54667/ceemr.2022.03 10.54667/ceemr.2022.03 This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License CC-BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)