07 SES 02 A, Youth Voices on Belonging and Exclusion
During the last two decades, the influx of immigrants into Europe, including Croatia, has been intensified. Rising immigrant inflows, accompanied by the arrival of a large number of asylum seekers and irregular migrants, evoked controversial feelings and brought forward new challenges that European countries should respond to. The same is true for Croatia as a transit country, where concerns over immigrant issues became an important political and research topic. In this context, the attitudes of the domicile population, especially of students and the young as the bearers of the future, are of particular importance.
Recent studies show that identity-based factors may be critical in explaining anti-immigrant attitudes, while these attitudes may be less dependent on economic status (Heinmueller and Hopkins, 2014; Sides and Citrin, 2007). Socio-cultural factors can also shape anti-immigrant prejudice, although this association is in need of further empirical evidence (Manevska and Achterberg, 2013). In line with recent findings from international studies, the aim of the present paper was to investigate the role of identity-based, socio-cultural and socio-economic variables in explaining anti-immigrant prejudice among Croatian youth.
The following research questions were addressed in the paper:
- To what extent do secondary school students endorse prejudice towards immigrants?
- What is the relationship between students' gender, cultural and economic capital, type of secondary school they attend (vocational and grammar schools) and national attachment, on one hand, and anti-immigrant prejudice, on the other?
- Which of the abovementioned variables most strongly predicts students’ prejudice towards immigrants?
According to the definition, the concept of prejudice refers to mostly negative attitudes towards members of other groups stemming from the fact they belong to these groups (Allport, 1954; Čorkalo, 2003; Whitley and Kite, 2010). Immigrants differ from the domicile population with regard to their ethno-cultural characteristics. Anti-immigrant attitudes may be related to expressions of ethnocentrism that encompass a sense of ethnic group self-centeredness and self-importance (Bizumic, Duckitt, Popadic, Dru and Krauss, 2009; Šram, 2010). In developing our hypotheses, we also rely on premises of socialisation (Čorkalo, 2003; Whitley and Kite, 2010) and social identity theories (Tajfel and Turner,1986), as well as Bourdieu’s theory of social and cultural reproduction (Bourdieu, 1997). Within this theoretical framework, the paper analyses how students’ identity-based, socio-cultural and socio-economic characteristics affect their endorsement of prejudice towards immigrants.
The survey was administered in 2016 on a representative sample of 1050 secondary school students from the City of Zagreb (capital of Croatia) and the Zagreb County. The participants were 17-20 years old and were attending the final year of secondary schooling. To ensure representativeness of the sample, stratified cluster sampling procedure was used, by taking into account the ratio of students attending different types of schools (3-year vocational, 4-year vocational, 5-year vocational and grammar school) and the location of the school (the City of Zagreb or the Zagreb County). Within the sample, 54.6% students were female, 21.5% of the students were attending 3-year vocational schools, 43.4% were attending 4- and 5-year vocational schools and 35.0% were attending grammar schools. The administered questionnaire consisted of closed questions set mainly on 5-point Likert-type scales covering demographic characteristics of students, their cultural capital (students’ cultural practices as embodied and parental education as institutionalized cultural capital), economic capital of students, type of secondary school they attend, students’ national attachment and students’ anti-immigrant prejudice. In order to pre-test the measures, especially the newly constructed scale measuring students’ anti-immigrant prejudice, a pilot study on a comparable sample of 332 secondary school students was conducted in winter 2015/2016. In the analysis, the anti-immigrant prejudice scale was used as the dependent variable, while gender, cultural and economic capital, type of school and attachment to one’s own nation were used as independent variables. Following the literature on prejudice research, we hypothesised that female students, students with higher cultural capital (embodied or institutionalized), with higher economic capital, those who attend grammar schools and those who are less attached to their own nation would be less prejudiced towards immigrants. We also assumed that students' attachment to their own nation would be the strongest predictor of students' anti-immigrant prejudice.
The results of hierarchical regression analysis showed that male students, students attending vocational schools, students with lower cultural capital (embodied or institutionalized) and students who are more attached to their own nation showed higher levels of anti-immigrant prejudice. The whole model explained 32% of variance in students’ anti-immigrant prejudice. Unexpectedly, economic capital had no significant effect on anti-immigrant prejudice. The analysis showed that students’ attachment to their own nation, i.e. ethnocentrism, was the strongest predictor of their endorsement of prejudiced attitudes towards immigrants (β =.46, p <.001). Gender and students’ cultural practices were also strong predictors of anti-immigrant prejudice. After the inclusion of students’ national attachment into the model, the effects of mothers’ education and type of school were no longer statistically significant, suggesting that national attachment mediates the effects of mothers’ education and type of school on anti-immigrant prejudice. More precisely, the findings indicate that students with lower educated mothers and those from 3-year vocational schools are more likely to endorse more ethnocentric attitudes that affect their anti-immigrant prejudice. This is not surprising as neither families with lower educated mothers nor 3-year vocational schools, characterised with poor education in the social sciences and humanities, provide students with enough information and socio-cultural knowledge necessary for the development of tolerant attitudes towards Others i.e. different social groups, including immigrants. The findings point to insufficient education in the area of the social sciences and humanities in vocational schools, which may be seen as a necessary precondition for the development of democratic and tolerant multicultural attitudes. Therefore, it is of special importance to strengthen multicultural and inclusive education through the current curricular reform endeavors in Croatia. Furthermore, the association of cultural capital and anti-immigrant prejudice suggests that these results should be considered in a broader socio-cultural context.
Allport, G. (1954). The Nature of Prejudice. Cambridge: Addison-Wesley. Bizumic, B., Duckitt, J., Popadic, D., Dru, V. & Krauss, S. (2009). A cross-cultural investigation into a reconceptualization of ethnocentrism. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39 (6), 871-899. Bourdieu, P. (1997). The Forms of Capital. In A. H. Halsey, H. Lauder, P. Brown, & A. Stuart Wells (Eds.), Education, Culture, Economy and Society (pp. 46-58). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Čorkalo, D. (2003). Attitudes and Intergroup Behaviour. In D. Ajduković (Ed.), Social Reconstruction of Community (pp.173-195). Zagreb: Psyhological Assistance Society. Heinmueller, J. & Hopkins, J. D. (2014). Public Attitudes Toward Immigration. Annual Review of Political Science, 17, 225-249. Manevska, K. & Achterberg, P. (2013). Immigration and Perceived Ethnic Threat: Cultural Capital and Economic Explanations. European Sociological Review, 29 (3), 437-449. Sides, J. & Citrin, J. (2007). European Opinion about Immigration: The Role of Identities, Interests and Information. British Journal of Political Science, 37 (3), 477-504. Šram, Z. (2010). Etnocentrizam, percepcija prijetnje i hrvatski nacionalni identitet [Ethnocentrism, Threat Perception, and Croatian National Identity]. Migracijske i etničke teme, 26 (2), 113-142. Tajfel, H. & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 7-24).Chicago: Nelson-Hall. Whitley, B. E. & Kite, M. E. (2010). The Psychology of Prejudice and Discrimination. Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
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