Positive and negative behavioural intentions towards immigrants: A question of ethnic categorisation or worldview conflict?

Willemijn Havermans, Maykel Verkuyten
Published Online:
17 Feb 2021

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Anti‐immigrant attitudes are often explained in terms of ethnic boundaries in which a categorical distinction between the ethnic ingroup and immigrant outgroup is made. However, these attitudes might also result from contrasting cultural worldviews. We examined the importance of ethnic categorisation and perceived cultural worldview difference in explaining behavioural intentions towards immigrants. Using an experimental survey design with a national sample of ethnic Dutch respondents (N = 832), we studied two positive and two negative behavioural intentions towards either immigrants with a contrasting cultural worldview or co‐ethnics with such as worldview. Our findings indicate similar behavioural intentions towards both target groups. Furthermore, except for “the intention to learn” there were no differences in behavioural intentions towards both target groups for respondents with lower and higher authoritarian dispositions. Overall, this pattern of findings is theoretically most in line with a worldview conflict perspective rather than an ethnic boundary perspective.

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