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Public opinion about immigration in Spain: utilitarian, cultural and pluralist trends

AuthorsDesrues, Thierry ; Pérez Yruela, Manuel ; Molina Molina, Óscar
public opinion
social image
Issue Date24-Jul-2009
SeriesWorking Paper
AbstractSince the early 1990's, Spain has received very substantial flows of immigration. These flows are characterised by the great diversity of the immigrants’ origin, the massive trend and the novelty of the phenomenon. In sum, that means that Spanish society has become in the space of a very few years a multiethnical society. This paper explores the social image of foreign migrants in Spain based on the outcome of a national survey produced in December 2005 by the Institute for Advanced Social Studies (IESA) of the Spanish Council for Scientific Research and commissioned by the Secretary of Immigration and Emigration of the Ministry of Labour and Social Issues. In accordance with the theories of the “new racism” that suggest that opinions and attitudes against immigration represent a new form of the expression of racism and xenophobia, this paper wants to contribute to the debate about the nature and the factors that determine prejudice, discrimination and segregation in the context of the rising success of populist political parties in Europe. The data of the survey throws light upon two main dimensions which explain the perception of the immigrants in the case of Spain: the socio-economic and the cultural one. According to the public perception of immigrants, three main trends can be identified amongst the majority population: the utilitarian, the differencialist and the pluralist. The utilitarian type reflects an instrumental and economic conception of migration. Immigrants are perceived mainly as a work force necessary for the growth of the Spanish economy. On the other hand, for the differencialist type cultural, religious and ideological differences amongst immigrants and the national population represent the main factors that conforms the negative perception of immigrants. For the pluralist group, generally prevails a tolerant perception of the immigrants. Each of these “ideal types” can be associated with a specific socio-demographic profile. Moreover, as the analysis shows, each profile takes different positions on the following issues: rights concessions to immigrants, immigration policy and social distance to immigrants.
Publisher version (URL)http://www.iesa.csic.es/archivos/documentos-trabajo/2009/Working_Paper_Public_opinion_about_immigration_in_Spain.pdf
Appears in Collections:(IESA) Informes y documentos de trabajo
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