Distinct Path of the Younger Europe? Determinants of Anti-Refugee Sentiments Among Young Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and Slovaks

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:30
Oral Presentation
Jakub WYSMUŁEK, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
The aim of this study is to analyze causes of high anti-refugee attitudes among young citizens of the so called Visegrad Four countries, that is Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia. These four Eastern-Central European countries have experienced political transformation in 1989, entered the European Union in 2004 and have been part of Schengen area since 2007. Previous research demonstrated that the recent attitudes of their citizens toward refugees and immigrants from the “Global South” is in sharp contrast to the attitudes of Western Europeans. Namely, it is the youngest generation that expresses the most radical reluctance toward refugees, while in the countries as Austria, Germany, Italy or Spain, the most reluctant is the older generation. While all four countries share some common structural socio-economical features they vary in respect of cultural, and religious characteristics, as well as the relevant experience of “Refugee Crisis” of 2015. Shared anti-refugee sentiment among the young generations which were born and raised in the “Open Europe” allows to expect some common structural determinants.

Solving this puzzle is crucial to understand past and to be able to predict future political and social development of this part of European Union. I base my analysis mainly on the national and international public opinion surveys (such as International Social Survey, World Value Survey, European Social Survey). During the research, I investigate links between negative attitudes towards refugees and respondent’s ideological stands, political affiliations, new social media use, as well as, structural and economic characteristics. In the analysis, I take into consideration also gradual changes occurring in the societies of these four countries in the spheres of memory, identity and political preferences.