Eesti elanikkonna hoiakud immigratsiooni suhtes 2004-2010

English title: Attitudes of Estonian population towards immigration 2004-2010

Author(s): Kadri Tõldsepp -

Language: Estonian

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2013


The aim of the master thesis is to give an overview of attitudes towards immigration in Estonia and to explore possible factors that may affect those attitudes. Although Estonia cannot be seen as a popular immigration destination country, it may be assumed that the topic will be receiving more attention in the future. Therefore there is a need to have better understanding of the attitudes that Estonian population has towards immigration. The theoretical part of the master thesis gives an overview of theories that are commonly used to explain attitudes toward immigration. Based on the group threat theory (Blumer 1958) negative attitudes are seen as a reaction to the threat to the position of the ingroup. Distinction can be made between realistic/economic threat and symbolic/cultural threat. Realistic group threat theory explains the threat from the immigration through competition for scarce resources between locals and immigrants. Social identity theory on the other hand connects negative attitudes toward immigration with the individuals’ need to create and maintain a positive social identity. The findings of the thesis indicate that different groups with different attitude patterns can be distinguished in the Estonian society. Estonians are more negative towards immigration than the non-Estonians living in Estonia (defined by the first language spoken at home). Leaning on the theoretical part these differences can be explained through identity motives: it can be expected that in comparison to non-Estonians, Estonians see immigration more as a cultural threat. Other important factors that influence the attitudes in the Estonian society are age and socio-economic status (education, self-perceived economic situation, occupational status). The influence of those factors is much less noticeable among non-Estonians than among Estonians. Older people tend to be more negative towards immigration than younger people. Also people with lower socio-economic position see immigration in a more negative light: the results indicate that their concerns are at least partially economic in nature and connected to competition motives.


Awarding institution: University of Tartu

Number of pages: 74

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