A Study In The Relationship Between Education And Xenophobia


So, for those of you who are craving some of our older, research oriented content, I decided to upload my term paper last year exploring the relationship between education and anti-immigrant sentiment. Hope you find it an interesting read! As always, feel free to leave any feedback in the comments section below.

Introduction

 

The history of the United States has often been praised as being one that, one the face of it, many paint as being the place where an immigrant can come and make anything of themselves, so long as they are willing to work hard they can give themselves and their children a better life than the one they had. However, a look at the history of the United States would show that this Is not necessarily the case, with legislation such as the Chinese Exclusion Act and various quotas running through World War II working to limit the access of immigrants from non-Western European states in order to maintain some homogeneity to our society. Current deliberation regarding our immigration policy is littered with the same warrants that served as the foundation for arguments to limit the amounts of immigrants back them; that immigrants may harbor national security threats, they may carry diseases across the border, they will only take away the jobs that Americans have to work hard to get. It is the goal of this paper to analyze whether education plays a role in whether or not an individual is more likely to harbor attitudes of xenophobia and whether those attitudes correlate to more favorable opinions on illegal immigrants.

The theoretical reasoning behind the relationship between education and better attitudes towards immigrants is that the higher than an individual progresses in their education, the more likely they are to become tolerant of immigrants as they learn of the ways that globalization and economics work, realizing the necessity of a healthy influx of to a well functioning economy as well as the importance of deliberation among multiple ethnic groups as part of the foundations of democracy breeding an attitude of tolerance. In addition, as schools and universities become more diverse, people may reconsider previously held beliefs as they come into more intimate contact with other cultures and religions, contributing to generally favorable attitudes towards immigrants.

While it is hypothesized that education is often an important variable in shaping one’s attitudes towards immigrants, there is a growing body of literature that suggests that in-group, out-group perceptions may contribute towards attitudes of fear towards immigrants based on a fear of losing one’s identity and labor market competition. (Quillan 1995). As such, controlling for a respondent’s income group will be necessary to isolate the effects of fear that may stem from one’s economic security that cannot be changed by whether one has more education or not. How

This paper does not claim that education is the sole reason for xenophobia or that it is the sole remedy for it. Limitations to this research question will show that the inevitable variance observed in the sample will show that xenophobia is a concept that will vary greatly with multiple factors that such as ideology, making it incredibly hard to capture as a concept. However, by building upon previous research, it is the goal of this paper to contribute to the ongoing discussion about how education can potentially be used as a positive tool to mitigate the rise of xenophobia.

Literature Review

Since the 1990’s, the general literature towards immigration has focused on exploring how a wide variety of variables have contributed to forming perceptions of hostility towards foreigners. On key variable that has emerged consistently in these discussions is the relevance of education in the formation of these attitudes, whether it be an issue of accessibility based on socioeconomic conditions or a remedy for introducing exposure to different cultures and rejecting ethnocentrism. Two schools of thought have emerged to explore the relationship between education and xenophobic attitudes from two different angles. The first is based on xenophobia being the perception of a subgroup representing a collective threat to a dominant groups position in society. The second is based on an individualized perspective emphasizing attitudes stemming from the fear resulting from a loss of identity or a result from certain attitudes shaped by institutions such as the media. These schools of thought are useful in analyzing the role education plays in shaping these attitudes by understanding how education can, from a group perspective, create an attitude of cosmopolitanism (Haubert and Fussel 2006) that openly embraces multiple perspectives and, how, from the individual perspective, education can give students the awareness necessary to critique negative depictions of different ethnic groups in the media. (Scharrer and Ramasubramanian 2015).

The first school of thought that explores the influences behind negative attitudes towards immigrants is one that focuses on the group dynamics at play. Lincoln Quillian draws on a body of sociological research in order to highlight a short falling based upon their failure to explore the group dynamic that is the perception of an in-group, out-group dynamic based upon the fear of competition within labor markets and competition with wages. (Quillian 1995). Gorodzeisky and Semyonov explore this in further detail by using data from the 2002 General European Social Survey find that those in European countries are likely to favor excluding certain ethnic groups from participation in society based on a fear of labor market competition and lower wages come from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds in rural areas where education is likely scarce and inaccessible. (Gorodzeisky and Semyonov 2009). The explanation for the role education plays is offered by Jeannie Haubert and Elizabeth Fussell whom theorize that that higher levels of education create an attitude of cosmopolitanism that eases the influence of in-group, out-group distinctions by immersing students in curriculum that emphasizes the rejection of ethnocentrism and encourages the open embracement of multiple cultures. (Haubert and Fussel 2006). However, this school of thought suffers from a failure to consider the nuances of individual attitudes that can be shaped by one’s social location, as explored by the research of Carlos Garcia and Theresa Davidson, problematizing the ability of Haubert and Fussell’s educational idea of cosmopolitanism to be universally applied as it cannot explain for the differences in one’s environment in shaping their attitudes.

In breaking away from a more collective understanding of how xenophobia is influenced, the other school of thought that explores the causes of xenophobic attitudes from the perspective of an individuals environment and how that might shape the threat of immigrants to represent a threat to the values they hold to themselves. Carlos Garcia and Theresa Davidson explored the relationship between the formation of an American identity in rural areas compared to urban areas and hypothesized that white males from rural areas were more likely to harbor hostile attitudes towards immigrants than those from urban areas based on fears of competition and wages dropping as a result. (Garcia and Davidson 2013). In surprising findings from the 1996 and 2004 General Social Surveys, Garcia and Davidson discover that most attitudes of fear towards immigrants actually come from urban areas, causing them to theorize that urban areas serve as “escapes” for white males without a college degree from the threat of immigrant labor that threatens their perception of a continuous American identity. However, Toon Kuppers and Russell Spears warn against assuming that higher education necessarily correlates with individuals being less likely to exhibit negative attitudes and stereotypes towards different ethnic groups, theorizing that these attitudes can be exhibited implicitly or explicitly depending on factors of social desirability. This causes them to theorize that people who are generally more educated will exhibit what Kuppers and Spears term as “averse racism”, that is the endorsement of positions that favor racial equality but the unconscious exercise of negative attitudes towards ethnic minorities. (Toon and Kuppers, pg. 214, 2014) Scholars Erica Scharrer and Srividya Ramasubramanian assume this argument in exploring the role of the media in shaping our use of stereotypes and the effect education can have in allowing us to critique those, with their qualitative research showing that educational spaces that encourage media literacy give conscious awareness to the stereotypes around us, making it more likely that the impetus exists for which to critique those depictions. (Scharrer and Ramasubramanian 2015). However, this school of thought suffers from a lack of comparative samples, such as Garcia’s and Davidson’s analysis of only urban and rural areas in the U.S, inhibits the ability of the school to provide an understanding of how xenophobia may operate as a whole across the Western world, failing to provide an insight into the formation of the ideologies that it seeks to show as the main driving force behind xenophobia.

Both schools of literature seem to emphasize education as being a crucial factor in influencing attitudes regarding xenophobia, but expose the nuances that are often overlooked in assuming that it is an isolated variable. Both schools of thought show that education is attached to broader socioeconomic structures such as location and wages that are not only other variables that determine those attitudes but also influence what accessibility individuals have to education if we assume that is a remedy for xenophobia, undermining the potential for education’s explanatory power by itself.

Methodology

The hypothesis of this paper is that generally, the more education that an individual has, the more likely they are to have positive feelings towards illegal immigrants. The null condition to my hypothesis is that there is no relationship between an individual’s level of education and their likelihood to have a favorable opinion of illegal immigrants.

The independent variable, education, is an ordinal level of measurement taken from the 2012 National Election Survey where respondents were asked to state their level of education according to one of three categories: high school completion or less, college, and graduate school. (Pollock 2016). This will be used to operationalize our independent variable because we are able to look at the 3 categories of education that we are interested in; high school or less, some college (bachelor’s degree or less) and college-plus (graduate school) whereas the variable that asked for the respondent’s highest level of education only asked them the highest degree they earned, which prevents us from capturing the effect that time in an institution can have in the likelihood an individual will have a favorable opinion towards illegal immigrants.

The dependent variable, measured from the 2012 National Election Survey, asked respondents to place their feelings towards illegal immigrants on a scale from 0-100 with a lower value indicating less than favorable opinions. (Pollock 2016). If the stated hypothesis is valid, then those with higher levels of education will generally give a higher value on the scale as a representation of their feelings. Using variables measuring a respondent’s feelings towards specific groups such as Hispanics, Blacks etc. because it would fail to capture the holistic attitudes people may have towards immigrants in general, such as the fear of losing jobs, and would reflect attitudes based on people’s experiences on a case-by-case basis.

To test for statistical significance and degree, I will be using the SPSS statistical analysis software to conduct an ANOVA test. I want to be 95% confident that I can reject the null hypothesis, therefore I will need to test for a p value of 0.05 to have assurances that I have not made a Type I error while I will be using the overall difference in means to quantify the degree of the relationship.

The research question is aimed at exploring the relationship between education and xenophobia but exploring those two variables in vacuum would ignore the various demographics that can influence the access one has to education and even the ones that actively contribute to the formation of xenophobic attitudes. Research such as that conducted by Quillian, Garcia, and Davidson show that xenophobia is often influenced in part by one’s occupation and subsequent income. To analyze this difference, a control variable for income will be introduced. The variable will be taken from the 2012 National Election Survey where respondents were asked to group themselves into a group dependent on their yearly income, broken into 5 quintiles, with the measurement being ordinal. (Pollock 2016). An ANOVA test will then be used on each of the five categories to test for statistical significance, form, and degree, with a p value of 0.05 needed for the 95% confidence interval I am looking for in order to reject the null hypothesis and be sure that I have not made a Type I error.

Data Analysis

Table 2.1 Analysis #1

 
One Way ANOVA Test of Respondent’s Attitudes Towards Illegal Immigrants by Their Level of Education In Three Categoriesa
  N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error      
   
HS or less 2171 36.93 27.252 .585        
Some college 1638 37.39 27.108 .670        
College+ 1597 40.20 24.097 .603        
                 
a. F(df)=7.819(2), p=0.000
b. Source:2012 National Election Survey

 

 

 

I used SPSS to conduct a one way ANOVA test that gave me the results as follows. As seen in Table 2.1, with an F statistic of 7.819 given two degrees of freedom, we are able to generate a p value 0.000, meaning that, when comparing the difference in means between all categories overall, we are at more than 99.9% confident that we have not made a Type I error, meaning we can reject the null hypothesis and claim that there is a relationship between a respondent’s level of education and their attitudes towards illegal immigrants Furthermore, the difference in means shows that the relationship is a positive one showing that the more education the respondent had, the more favorable their attitudes were towards illegal immigrants. The degree of the relationship can be seen with those whom described themselves as having college plus ranking illegal immigrants on average 3.27 points higher than those whom have had only a high school education or less. However, this decreased to only 0.46 points higher on average among those whom described themselves as having some college education than those whom have had high school or less, indicating that there are other potential explanations for this dependent variable implied in previous research conducted.

Analysis #2: Introduction of a Control Variable

Table 2.2: Control Variable Income: Quintile 1

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J)a Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some college 1.320 1.919 .771 -3.18 5.82
College+ -3.876 2.747 .335 -10.32 2.57
Some college HS or less -1.320 1.919 .771 -5.82 3.18
College+ -5.196 2.970 .187 -12.17 1.77
College+ HS or less 3.876 2.747 .335 -2.57 10.32
Some college 5.196 2.970 .187 -1.77 12.17
a. F(df)=1.534(2) phi=0.216
b. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

Table 2.3: Control Variable Income: Quintile 2

 

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some college -1.262 1.887 .782 -5.69 3.17
College+ -2.606 2.325 .502 -8.06 2.85
Some college HS or less 1.262 1.887 .782 -3.17 5.69
College+ -1.343 2.526 .856 -7.27 4.59
College+ HS or less 2.606 2.325 .502 -2.85 8.06
Some college 1.343 2.526 .856 -4.59 7.27
a. Source: 2012 National Election Survey
b. F(df)=0.691(2), phi=0.501

 

Table 2.4: Control Variable Income: Quintile 3

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some college -1.017 1.878 .851 -5.42 3.39
College+ -5.415* 1.983 .018 -10.07 -.76
Some college HS or less 1.017 1.878 .851 -3.39 5.42
College+ -4.398 2.048 .081 -9.20 .41
College+ HS or less 5.415* 1.983 .018 .76 10.07
Some college 4.398 2.048 .081 -.41 9.20
 
b. F(df)=3.995(2), phi=0.019
c. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

Table 2.5: Control Variable Income: Quintile 4

 

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some college -.568 2.045 .958 -5.37 4.23
College+ -7.205* 1.980 .001 -11.85 -2.56
Some college HS or less .568 2.045 .958 -4.23 5.37
College+ -6.637* 1.959 .002 -11.23 -2.04
College+ HS or less 7.205* 1.980 .001 2.56 11.85
Some college 6.637* 1.959 .002 2.04 11.23
 
b. F(df)=8.479(2), phi=0.000

 

Table 2.6: Control Variable Income: Quintile 5

 

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some coll -7.993* 2.395 .003 -13.61 -2.37
Coll+ -7.068* 2.144 .003 -12.10 -2.04
Some coll HS or less 7.993* 2.395 .003 2.37 13.61
Coll+ .924 1.755 .858 -3.19 5.04
Coll+ HS or less 7.068* 2.144 .003 2.04 12.10
Some coll -.924 1.755 .858 -5.04 3.19
 
b. F(df)=6.448(2), phi=0.002
c. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

The second analysis introduced income group as a control variable. As seen in Tables 2.2 and 2.3 with F statistics of 1.534 and 0.691 given two degrees of freedom as well as p values of 0.216 and 0.501 respectively, we fail to reject the null hypothesis when claiming there is a relationship between one’s level of education and their attitudes towards illegal immigrants in income groups 1 and 2 given that we have failed to achieve a p value of 0.05 that is necessary to have 95% confidence that we have not made a Type I error.

Table 2.4, representing income group 3, shows an F statistic of 3.995 given two degrees of freedom with a p value of 0.019 means that we are more than 98% confident that we have not made a Type I error in assuming that we can reject the null hypothesis overall for this income group. However, when comparing the difference in means between groups, the relationship only has statistical support when comparing between those with a high school education or less to those in the college plus category (p=0.018). The degree and form of the relationship can be seen in the difference in the means, with those in income group 3 with a college plus education rating their attitudes towards illegal immigrants 5.415 points higher than those with only up to a high school education.

Table 2.5, representing income group 4, shows an F statistic of 8.479 given two degrees of freedom and a p value of .000, which means that we are more than 99.9% confident that we can reject the null hypothesis overall within this income group and claim that there is a relationship between a respondent’s level of education and their attitudes towards illegal immigrants. Furthermore, when comparing the means between groups, the relationship is statistically significant when comparing those a high school or less education to those with a college plus education (p=0.001) and those with some college education compared to those with a college plus education. (p=0.002). Once again, the degree and form can be seen in the difference in means, with those with a college plus education rating their attitudes towards illegal immigrants 7.205 points higher than those with up to a high school education and 6.637 points higher than only those with just some college education.

Table 2.6, representing income group 5, shows an F statistic of 6.448 given two degrees of freedom and a p value of 0.002, meaning we are more than 99% confident that we can reject the null hypothesis overall when claiming there is a relationship between a respondent’s level of education and their attitudes towards illegal immigrants in this income group. When comparing the means between groups, we have statistical significance when comparing those with a high school education or less to those with some college education (p=0.003) and those with a college plus education. (p=0.003). Once again, the degree and form can be seen the difference in means, with those with some college education rating their feelings towards illegal immigrants 7.993 points higher and those with a college plus education rating their feelings 7.068 points higher than those with less than a high school education.

These findings show that income plays as an intervening variable in how an individual forms xenophobic attitudes, with ANOVA tests showing that the relationship only holds statistical support in higher income groups. This means that for those with higher incomes (groups 3 and above), we can predict if they are to hold favorable attitudes towards illegal immigrants or not if we know their level of education but we cannot make those predictions for those residing in lower income groups.

Discussion/Conclusion

An individual’s level of education does effect the likelihood that someone will have more positive attitudes towards illegal immigrants. However, the originally hypothesized relationship that the more education someone has, the more likely they are to have more positive feelings towards illegal immigrants can only be seen in higher income groups. The findings of the control variable show that income is an important, intervening factor that must be considered when evaluating the role that education has because of its ability to limit the access that an individual can have to the tools necessary to curb their fears of immigrants. Among low income individuals, this would seem to support Quillian’s thesis that the nature of the labor market among blue collar workers is likely to create an in-group, out-group mentality against foreign workers (Quillan 1995), because, without the ability to gain access to that education, the fear of losing that income and their livelihood is the only factor influencing their attitudes. The failure of this paper to find a statistically significant relationship between education and xenophobic attitudes warrants further research into the role socioeconomics plays tailored around the question of access.

Among high income groups, our findings show that there is a flaw among Toon and Kuppers hypothesis of averse racism (Toon and Kuppers, pg. 214, 2014) given that we have a statistically significant relationship that, assuming an individual has access to education, they are more likely to have more positive feelings towards immigrants. While Toon and Kuppers may argue that averse racism encompasses single, unconscious expressions of racism (Toon and Kuppers, pg. 214, 2014), the feeling thermometer used by the National Election Survey is able to encompass those feelings given that the question asked for an overall rating towards illegal immigrants. This would, in turn, support Haubert and Fussels’ theory that education creates a curriculum of cosmopolitanism that immerses students in one that rejects notions such as ethnocentrism (Haubert and Fussel 2006) assuming they have that access. These findings at the very least warrant further research in educational spaces regarding the effectiveness of that curriculum done over a period of time and a case by case comparison among the different curriculums of universities to determine what that curriculum specifically entails and its overall effectiveness.

Education alone cannot explain the relationship between one’s level of education and how likely they are to harbor xenophobic attitudes towards illegal immigrants. In showing that income is an important intervening variable, these findings show that it is important to center the question of how do we lessen the influence of xenophobia among a question of broadening the access an individual has to education in order to broaden the amount of influences an individual is exposed to when forming their early opinions towards immigrants. The limitations of the research at hand were exposed by the findings of the control variable, creating a need for comparative samples from educational systems such as those found in Europe that are generally more accessible to lower income individuals in order to amplify education’s explanatory power in relation to xenophobia. As it stands, the findings taken only from the 2012 National Election Survey mean that we are only able to claim that explanatory power as it relates to high income individuals within the U.S. The limitations of my own SPSS skills also limited the scope of analysis I could do with the limited data at hand, curtailing the operationalization of my variables. Our hypothesis that the higher an individual has, the more likely they are to have more positive feelings towards immigrants is a statistically significant relationship that warrants more comparative research in order to account for the question of accessibility.

Appendix

Table 2.1 Analysis #1

 
One Way ANOVA Test of Respondent’s Attitudes Towards Illegal Immigrants by Their Level of Education In Three Categoriesa
  N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error      
   
HS or less 2171 36.93 27.252 .585        
Some coll 1638 37.39 27.108 .670        
Coll+ 1597 40.20 24.097 .603        
                 
a. F(df)=7.819(2), p=0.000
b. Source:2012 National Election Survey

 

Chart 2.1

 

 

Table 2.2

Control Variable Income: Quintile 1

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J)a Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some coll 1.320 1.919 .771 -3.18 5.82
Coll+ -3.876 2.747 .335 -10.32 2.57
Some coll HS or less -1.320 1.919 .771 -5.82 3.18
Coll+ -5.196 2.970 .187 -12.17 1.77
Coll+ HS or less 3.876 2.747 .335 -2.57 10.32
Some coll 5.196 2.970 .187 -1.77 12.17
a. F(df)=1.534 phi=0.216
b. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

Control Variable Income: Quintile 2

 

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some coll -1.262 1.887 .782 -5.69 3.17
Coll+ -2.606 2.325 .502 -8.06 2.85
Some coll HS or less 1.262 1.887 .782 -3.17 5.69
Coll+ -1.343 2.526 .856 -7.27 4.59
Coll+ HS or less 2.606 2.325 .502 -2.85 8.06
Some coll 1.343 2.526 .856 -4.59 7.27
a. Source: 2012 National Election Survey
b. F(df)=0.691(2), phi=0.501

 

Control Variable Income: Quintile 3

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some coll -1.017 1.878 .851 -5.42 3.39
Coll+ -5.415* 1.983 .018 -10.07 -.76
Some coll HS or less 1.017 1.878 .851 -3.39 5.42
Coll+ -4.398 2.048 .081 -9.20 .41
Coll+ HS or less 5.415* 1.983 .018 .76 10.07
Some coll 4.398 2.048 .081 -.41 9.20
 
b. F(df)=3.995(2), phi=0.019
c. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

Control Variable Income: Quintile 4

 

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some coll -.568 2.045 .958 -5.37 4.23
Coll+ -7.205* 1.980 .001 -11.85 -2.56
Some coll HS or less .568 2.045 .958 -4.23 5.37
Coll+ -6.637* 1.959 .002 -11.23 -2.04
Coll+ HS or less 7.205* 1.980 .001 2.56 11.85
Some coll 6.637* 1.959 .002 2.04 11.23
 
b. F(df)=8.479(2), phi=0.000
c. Source:2012 National Election Survey

 

Control Variable Income: Quintile 5

 

(I) Education (J) Education Mean Difference (I-J) Std. Error Sig. 95% Confidence Interval
Lower Bound Upper Bound
HS or less Some coll -7.993* 2.395 .003 -13.61 -2.37
Coll+ -7.068* 2.144 .003 -12.10 -2.04
Some coll HS or less 7.993* 2.395 .003 2.37 13.61
Coll+ .924 1.755 .858 -3.19 5.04
Coll+ HS or less 7.068* 2.144 .003 2.04 12.10
Some coll -.924 1.755 .858 -5.04 3.19
 
b. F(df)=6.448(2), phi=0.002
c. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

 

 

Descriptive Statistics For Dependent Variablea
  N Mean Std. Deviation Variance
Feeling Thermometer Towards Illegal Immigrants 5448 38.01 26.354 694.528
         
a. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

 

Frequency Table for the Independent Variablea
                 X F %   Cumulative    %
  HS or less 2362 39.9   40.3
Some college 1777 30.0   70.6
College+ 1725 29.2   100.0
Total 5864 99.1    
           
         
a. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

 

Frequency Table for the Control Variablea
  F %   Cumulative %
  Quint1 1191 20.1   20.9
Quint2 1196 20.2   41.9
Quint3 1163 19.7   62.3
Quint4 1065 18.0   80.9
Quint5 1086 18.4   100.0
Total 5701 96.4    
           
         
a. Source: 2012 National Election Survey

 

 

 

Bibliography

Garcia, C., & Davidson, T. (2013). Are Rural People More Anti-Immigrant Than Urban People? A Comparison Of Attitudes Toward Immigration In The United States. Journal of Rural Science,28(1), 80-105. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://search.proquest.com.mutex.gmu.edu/socscijournals/docview/1429152039/4CC3DDC221654EB0PQ/2?accountid=14541

In this article, Davidson and Garcia hypothesize that the fear of labor market competition and lowering of wages is more likely to come from people in rural areas than urban areas due to the theory that in those areas there is likely to be a strong sense of American identity. Using data from the 1996 and 2004 General Social Survey, Davidson and Garcia operationalize their variables by assigning a label to designate whether the interview happened in a town of less than 10,000 inhabitants while asking such as whether immigrants should be allowed to live in the country. Their findings were surprising insofar as the data indicates that most hostility towards immigrants can actually be found in rural areas, forcing them to consider where the origin of an American identity may come from. Designating an area of rural, however, seems to overlook the nuances associated with that condition, such as the access to quality and diverse education, which can be just as prevalent in urban areas. This relates to the research question at hand by giving insight in where we can potentially expect attitudes associated with low education to be found.

Gorodzeisky, A., & Semyonov, M. (2009). Terms of exclusion: Public views towards admission and allocation of rights to immigrants in European countries. Ethnic and Racial Studies,32(3), 401-423. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.tandfonline.com.mutex.gmu.edu/doi/full/10.1080/01419870802245851

In this article, Gordozeisky and Semoynov explore the effects of in-group, out-group perceptions driven by a fear of labor market competition in contemporary Europe in determining a citizen’s opinion on how much exclusion European governments should use against their immigrant populations. Using data from the 2002 and 2003 European Social Survey, the authors attempted to measure this by using GDP per capita as an indicator of economic status over 21 countries while asking questions relating to whether immigrants should be excluded from participation in certain areas of society and whether certain rights should be denied to immigrants. The authors find that while most Europeans do not advocate for the denial of rights to immigrants across all economic categories, lower income Europeans generally support their exclusion from some aspect of society, indicating that the removal of rights has to do with ideologies of human rights and liberalism rather than a positive attitude towards immigrants. This approach seems to suffer by homogenizing failing to capture differing attitudes towards different immigrants, undermining the explanatory power of the research as immigrants from fellow Western European countries are generally more welcomed than those from different continents. This article relates to my research by exploring the economic conditions that may give rise to feelings of fear based on the denial of access to resources such as education and how that may contribute to a group fear of a loss of identity.

Haubert, J., & Fussell, E. (2006). Explaining Pro-Immigrant Sentiment in the U.S.: Social Class, Cosmopolitanism, and Perceptions of Immigrants1. International Migration Review Int Migration Rev,40(3), 489-507. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://search.proquest.com/docview/215272192/fulltext/881F6FA060684D3EPQ/1?accountid=14541

This article explores the relationship between education and negative attitudes towards immigration by theorizing that education results in positive views towards immigrants by suggesting that higher education creates an attitude of cosmopolitism that rejects ethnocentrism and embraces cultural diversity. Using data from the 1996 General Social Survey, the authors operationalize the variables by giving classifications like occupation to designate the respondents place in society while operationalizing the dependent variable through questions of whether immigrants should be able to live in the country or not. The findings support their hypothesis that labor market competition fears are likely to negatively affect an individual’s attitude towards immigrants, with blue collar workers shown to be more hostile towards immigrants based on their responses, giving cosmopolitanism explanation power. The authors fail to explain the specifics of how a university education is required for an attitude of cosmopolitanism, giving rise for different learning environments to breed different attitudes, making the study hard to generalize. This relates to the research question by giving me a general framework for understanding the differences an attitudes a university education can instill in influencing attitudes towards immigrants.

Kuppens, T., & Spears, R. (2014). You don’t have to be well-educated to be an aversive racist, but it helps. Social Science Research,45, 211-223. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X14000313

This article highlights the flaws in assuming a singular relationship between education and xenophobia by highlighting the presence of averse racism in the presence of racial stereotypes even among the educated. The authors operationalize their variables by classifying individuals based on their level of education and having respondents associate words such as love, hate, fear etc with certain faces in a matter of seconds. The findings show that while the higher educated do explicitly show low prejudice for other ethnic groups, they are more likely to be more prejudiced unconsciously when negative attitudes can be justified in a non-racial way, calling into question the singular relationship between education and prejudice. The research seems to suffer from failing to explore the effects that education can have in raising awareness that these actions can be recognized and critiqued, an argument assumed by various other scholars in the field. This relates to the research at hand in forcing me to consider various alternatives that xenophobia can be exhibited in ways that can’t be accounted for by the data that will be operationalized.

Quillian, L. (1995). Prejudice as a Response to Perceived Group Threat: Population Composition and Anti-Immigrant and Racial Prejudice in Europe. American Sociological Review,60(4), 586. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096296?seq=6#page_scan_tab_contents

This article introduces a new way to think about the operationalization of xenophobia by emphasizing a need to move away from individualistic models that fail to account for the group dynamic behind xenophobia. Quallian theorizes that labor market competition and the fear of being overthrown by a sub-group are the causes of the formation of in-group and out-group dynamics that are the breeding ground for xenophobia. The variables were operationalized by categorizing respondents by income level and education and asking them questions such as what would happen if individuals married into different groups etc. Quallian findings give credence to the theory that hostility towards immigrants is the result of group dynamics, influencing the way we theorize regarding the formation of negative attitudes towards immigrants. Quallian’s theory suffers from the refusal to acknowledge how an individual’s socioeconomic conditions play a role in determining how receptive an individual will be to messages that advocate for fear against immigrants. This article relates to my research by giving me a theoretical framework through which I can understand attitudes towards immigration as a group phenomenon.

Scharrer, E., & Ramasubramanian, S. (2015). Intervening in the Media’s Influence on Stereotypes of Race and Ethnicity: The Role of Media Literacy Education. Journal of Social Issues,71(1), 171-185. Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.12103/full

This article explores the relationship between education and the role it plays in giving students tools through whcih they can understand stereotypes in the media towards different ethnic groups. The article uses an wide arrange of qualitative methods to by studying the eagerness of students to critique media stereotypes once shown exactly how they portray different groups in a negative light. The authors find that, while there may be some reluctance at first to critique stereotypes within the media at first, the more literacy one gains regarding the media, the more one is eager to critique those depictions within educational spaces. The authors, however, seem to assume that these techniques seem to be accessible to everyone, ignoring that those in certain socioeconomic conditions are unable to obtain the tools needed to be literate enough in the media to become aware of their own participation in the circulation of stereotypes. This article provides me with a theoretical framework to understand how education can deal with the problem of averse racism that can be present among those with higher education cited in previous studies.

 

 

 

 

 

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