Lahav, Gallya. (2003) "Opposition to immigration: Self-interest or public interest?". In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, TN. (Unpublished)
Why do some Europeans feel threatened by immigrants more than others? Some studies have suggested that there is a pattern of negative attitudes toward immigrants which rises according to the size of immigrant population. This follows accounts of electoral behavior; extreme-right parties such as the French FJ tend to do best in areas of high immigrant concentration. Others have suggested that the feeling that there were too many immigrants might be strong even in countries where the proportion of immigrants is relatively high. Although much has been written about "immigration thresholds," how immigrant size translates into immigrant rejection remains unclear and ambiguous. This paper attempts to uncover these contradictions by disentangling the effects of personal concerns from societal consideration and by looking at the different motivations underlying peoples' assessment. It argues that people tend to separate their personal concerns from broader judgments about societal threat when thinking about immigration. It suggests that while immigrant numbers matter, it may only be in contest of other threats (i.e., security, European integration) that they fully make sense.
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