Actitudes Hacia la Inmigración en España a Través de la Encuesta Social Europea

English title: Attitudes towards Immigration in Spain through the European Social Survey

Author(s): Sergio Moldes-Anaya - Francisco Jiménez Aguilar - Francisco Jiménez Bautista -

Language: Spanish

Type: Journal article

Year: 2018


Following the scientific literature about the attitudes towards immigration, this article attempts to evaluate a series of indicators related with the perceived problems attached to the material well-being and cultural threat by Spaniards that have been extracted from the Seventh Edition of the European Social Survey (ESS). The perception that immigration has a negative cultural and economic impact is something that predominates in the collective imaginary of European citizens. In order to explain this, it is necessary to take into account the threat theory, which has had an important reception on the contemporary scientific production, and can explain attitudes through two concrete dimensions (Stephan and Stephan, 1996; Stephan, Ybarra and Bachman, 1999, Stephan et al., 2002, Stephan et al., 2005). On one hand, realistic threats are induced by the perception of proxi - mity of the foreign out-group and referred to threats to the native ingroup existence. Thus, threats to political and economic power are considered the most common risk factors for a reluctant attitude towards the external group (Moldes-Anaya et al., 2017). Realistic threats frequently emerge as a result of competition for scarce economic and material resources such as competitiveness in the labour market, threats to health, physical well-being, the perceived size of the out-group (Stephan et al., 1998; Stephan et al., 2002; Quillian, 1995; McLaren, 2003) or other threats attached to the material aspects of social life. On the other hand, symbolic threats are related to threats to the worldview of a particular native in-group. Hence, external groups that adhere to different views and interpretations of the world can be considered a threat to the worldview of the native group from where the external group has been inserted, which as a counterpart can lead to reluctant attitudes and behaviours from the native in-group (Stephan et al., 1998; Stephan et al., 2002). In accordance with this logic it should be emphasised that symbolic threats focus on inter-group di - fferences of an axiological nature such as those concerning morality, values, norms, customs or beliefs. From this frame of reference, the present study aims to analyze how Spanish society is facing the phenomenon of immigration as well as to explore the role played by the different types of threats described above on attitudes towards immigrants. Therefore, the main objective of this article is to evaluate how Spaniards represent themselves on immigration, analysing the problems of most concern to them (risk factors) and how they modulate their response to immigration. In line with this, there are two main hypotheses which have guided this work. It is pointed out that a negative response from Spaniards on issues concerning the threat to material well-being (realistic threat) and to cultural identity (symbolic threat) will operate as risk factors for the outcome of a pessimistic attitude to the question of whether the arrival of immigrants contributes to Spain being a better or worse place to live. Moreover, we propose that the strength of the risk factors related to the threat to material well-being for the outcome of a reluctant attitude towards immigration will, in all cases, be greater than the strength of the perceived symbolic threat factors. To verify this, the analysis procedure has been as follows. A factorial analysis has been carried out using the principal components factorization method with the oblimin rotation (Tabachnick and Fidell, 2001). Then and taking into account the logical and orderly sequence between each of the levels of the response (negative or positive) as to whether the arrival of immigrants contributes to making Spain a worse or better country to live, a discrete response Logit model was designed (Agresti, 2013; 2017; Collet, 1981) according to whether the explanatory variables considered were of a socio-demographic or threat (perceived or symbolic) type. A stepwise forward model using the Wald method, which contrasts the input of the variables based on the significance of the scoring statistic and contrasts the elimination of them derived from the probability of the Wald statistic, was considered as the model that best fitted to these data. The goodness of fit at the population level was contrasted with the likelihood ratio test, the pseudo-square test (Agresti, 1985), Pearson's Chi-square test, and point-to-point with the analysis of studentised residuals by means of the corresponding normal test. The statistical significance of the parameters in the model was studied with their respective Wald test. The exponential of the parameters (Odds Ratio) that came out significant (Poole, 2001) was interpreted in terms of the prognosis ratio of a negative response versus to a positive response, based on changes in the explanatory variables considered. According to the data evaluated, it can be said that a negative response from Spaniards to questions about the threat of material well-being (realistic threat) and cultural identity (symbolic threat) (Stephan et al., 1998, Stephan et al., 2002) predicts the outcome of a negative attitude towards immigration due to subjects who have a reluctant or ambiguous attitude towards threats of a material or cultural nature are more susceptible to thinking negatively about the issue of the arrival of immigrants contributes to Spain being a better or worse place to live. On the other hand and according to the results, we proposed that the strength of the risk factors related to the threat of material welfare for the outcome of a reluctant attitude towards immigration, in all cases, is greater than the strength of the symbolic threat factors perceived. This does not fulfil our expectations at all since for the individuals classified as reluctant as well as for the ambiguous the strength of the symbolic threat factor is greater than the strength of the economic-material threat factors as long as when these are compared with subjects classified as tolerant. Furthermore, in terms of the influence of the sociodemographic variables that have entered the model after the analysis, it could be detected that women are more likely to have a positive attitude as apposed to men who are more likely to have a negative attitude towards immigration.

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

From page no: 93

To page no: 119

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.14198/OBETS2018.13.1.04

Journal: OBETS, Revista de Ciencias Sociales