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European Attitudes Toward Immigrants: Exploring Anti-Immigrant Attitudes and Welfare Chauvinism in Contemporary Europe


Hostility towards immigrants can be found in virtually every European country today. This presentation will explore the central developments and drivers of majority populations attitudes towards immigrants across Europe. This will be done on an overall European level, but also into specific European regions like the Nordic and the Central-Eastern European regions. 

The presentation will focus on four published articles that make up David Andreas Bell’s doctoral thesis. It begins with an overview of how anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim attitudes have developed differently in Western and Eastern Europe in the period between 1990-2017. 

It will also explore the concept of welfare chauvinism, i.e. majority populations’ hesitation to grant the benefits of the welfare state to immigrants. It will show how a country’s economic conditions may or may not be important for understanding welfare chauvinistic attitudes. Following this we zoom in to the Nordic region to explore how the distinction between strict and moderate forms of welfare chauvinism are important for understanding the phenomenon in Sweden, Norway and Finland. 

The presentation ends with an exploration of racist attitudes in Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic. It will show how these attitudes were already prevalent before the so-called refugee-crisis of 2015-2016 when the three countries became the most staunchly hostile countries in the EU to receiving refugees. 

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