Geografie 2017, 122, 500-525

“I do not mind immigrants; it is immigration that bothers me.” The inconsistency of immigration attitudes in Europe

Dita Čermáková, Yana Leontiyeva

Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czechia

Received September 2017
Accepted October 2017

Using the European Social Survey data we studied migration attitudes in 19 European countries, including Czechia. We introduced and tested the assumption about the bi-dimensional nature of migration attitudes, where personalized attitudes towards immigrants as individuals might differ from the generalised attitudes toward immigration as a phenomenon. The results of our analysis have provided arguments to suggest that one person may in fact has rather positive attitudes towards individual immigrants (in term of willingness to accept them in closer contacts in everyday life) and at the same time express reservations about immigration as a phenomenon (be more sceptical about the positive outcomes of international migration). The article also contributes to the discussion about the country context, which seems to have an important effect on migration attitudes. People in CEE countries tend to express considerably greater social distancing from individual immigrants than people in those European countries with relatively longer immigration experience. But when it comes to attitudes towards immigration as a phenomenon, here the feelings are rather reserved all across Europe.


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