Severe Worries and Anxieties? Concerned Citizens and Their Attitudes Towards Asylum Seekers and Refugees

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal 48 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Madlen PREUSS, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, Germany
Andreas ZICK, Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence, Germany
In 2015 the debate on refugees reached a new level. Pictures of people welcoming refugees were and are still omnipresent. At the same time Germany recognized a severe increase in hate crimes of right-wing populist and right-wing extremist groups. Concerned citizens protests against immigration and the welcome culture of civil society, especially in front of refugee shelters.
Their arguments addressed the costs of immigration, the exploitation of the welfare system, the deprivation of autochthone Germans and the erosion of the labour market. The protestors even attacked politicians and media by stating that they just address the worries of ordinary people. Right-wing populism clearly addressed some of the most relevant causes of prejudices and discrimination: anomia, dominance and so called rights of established. As well we argued that the demand for a ‚reconquest of traditional status positions and national superiority’ defined right-wing populisms in Europe. This belief in reconquest is not identical to social dominance or authoritarianism.
In January 2014 we conducted a cross-sectional survey which addressed the sentiments of 'concerned citizens' which show up in late 2014 (e.g. Pegida). With this data we test a theoretical model (SEM) of the alleged worry about the economic development on the clear rejection of multiculturalism and their outcome for the debate on refugees, mediated by potential influencing factors as anomia, social dominance, and Elias' concept of Established and Outsiders. Results clearly show that the frequently expressed economic worries do not play any role for the devaluation of asylum seekers. Even disorientations or classical dominance strategies have no effect. Instead, it is the belief in different facets of the preservation of the ‘good old order’ that explains the rejection of asylum seekers.