English title: Countervailing contact: Community ethnic diversity, anti-immigrant attitudes and mediating pathways of positive and negative inter-ethnic contact in European societies

Author(s): James Laurence -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2018


Inter-ethnic contact has long been held as a key means of ameliorating possible inter-group tensions and facilitating the integration of increasing immigrant populations into society. However, our understanding of the role of contact in this relationship may be limited due to the omission of contact-valence; that is, whether contact is experienced positively or negatively. This paper integrates the concept of contact-valence into the question of how increasing community diversity affects attitudes towards immigrants via inter-group contact, across Europe. We posit the existence of dual, mediating pathways of both positive and negative inter-group contact. Applying generalized structural equation models to data from the 2014 European Social Survey, we find that living in more diverse communities increases the frequency of positive inter-group contact but also negative inter-group contact. While the former is positively associated with inter-group attitudes the latter is negatively associated. Testing demonstrates that diversity exerts countervailing positive and negative indirect-effects on attitudes towards immigrants via processes of inter-group contact. Furthermore, while the net-effect of diversity on attitudes via contact is positive, attitudes amongst those experiencing more frequent negative contact become progressively worse. Increasing diversity therefore leads to a polarisation in attitudes towards immigration as a result of, and not due to a lack of, inter-group contact.

Volume: 69

Issue: 0

From page no: 83

To page no: 110

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1016/J.SSRESEARCH.2017.09.007

Journal: Social Science Research

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