Tolerance to diversity and diversity of intolerance in the Czech Republic

English title: Tolerance to diversity and diversity of intolerance in the Czech Republic

Author(s): Martina Klicperová-Baker - Jaroslav Košťál -

Language: English

Type: Report, working paper

Year: 2011


The Czech lands (and Czechoslovakia) historically developed as a multicultural environment but the unfortunate modern history drastically reduced its traditional Jewish, Roma, Ruthenian, German, Hungarian and Slovak minorities through holocaust, expulsion and political partition, leaving the Czech lands with a relatively homogeneous citizenry. Inhabited mostly by the Czechs (90%) and Moravians (4%) who share a similar historical and cultural background, the Czech Republic’s largest minorities involve Slovaks (3%) and Roma (3%) along with immigration waves primarily from Ukraine and Vietnam. Our study consists of two parts: 1) A representative survey involved 1.037 respondents of the Czech Republic and focused on opinions on homogeneity, diversity, EU enlargement and open borders. The results indicate a widespread joy of belonging to the EU but also prevalent worries about free movement of foreigners and apprehension of further EU enlargement. 2) The other part is a secondary analysis of European Social Survey (ESS) data for the Czech Republic. It focused on development of a psychological, value-based typology in order to further analyze attitudes to immigration and diversity. Cluster analysis (Sawtooth method) of Schwartz Value Questionnaire data resulted in four prominent axiological types (mentalities) of Czech respondents: (educated and aspiring) Social Liberals, (older and virtuous) Ascetic Conservatives, (young) Hedonistic Individualists and Withdrawn Negativists (for a great part, bitter underdogs). These mentalities well resonate with types which were extracted by different methodology earlier (Klicperová.-Baker et al., 2007). Validity of these types was corroborated by demographic and attitudinal analysis. The extracted types manifested various patterns of tolerance to immigrants: While the tolerant Social Liberals predominantly embrace diversity, the other types manifest less friendly patterns of attitudes which can be assigned to various causes. Whereas the young Hedonistic Individualists prevalently lack crystallized opinions and if they manifest tolerance, it may be labeled as ignorant tolerance; the Ascetic Traditionalists manifest a greater variance of attitudes: a genuine concern for their country and culture along with benevolence to others which stops short when it comes to people of different ethnicity (a possible sign of bigotry). Withdrawn Negativists, as expected, extended their generalized negativism and resentment to other peoples. Study is concluded with discussion of reasons which may play role in the Czech circumspection toward open borders and immigration—the small size of the Czech Republic, existential challenges in the past, negative role of minorities in destruction of Czechoslovakia, economic crisis, totalitarian & post-totalitarian experience and peculiarities of the Czech national character (e.g., reserved skepticism). Identification of patterns of intolerance may add to differentiated education for democratic citizenship and to adaptation of relevant policies.

Edition: 0

Institution: Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic

Number of pages: 34

Number: 37

Series: EUROSPHERE Working paper series