9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS04 Europe and Immigration

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Public Opinion: Mutual Perceptions Among Majorities and Minorities Building I, 1E9

In-depth analyses of attitudes towards immigrants in a highly multi-national society. A case study of Luxembourg

Luxembourg is one of the European countries with the highest proportion of immigrants in the population and with a relatively long immigration history. According to the latest official statistics, the immigrants represent 43% of the Luxembourg population. Thus, we can observe a progressive change in the population profile where the number of immigrants (considered as minority) is slowly reaching the number of natives (considered as majority). In this context, the notion of the minority/majority dichotomy is loosing its traditional sense and the country is the process of finding a new equilibrium between ethnic diversity and social cohesion of the country.
This, in Europe unique, situation evokes a lot of questions regarding national identity, assimilation, multilingual/national state. Given this, it is extremely legitimate to study how do different segments of inhabitants of Luxembourg perceive immigrants and how does the multicultural nature of the society affect social cohesion. The analyses will be based on the European Value Study data from 1999 and 2008.
In concrete terms, the present paper has two principal aims: firstly, to create a composite indicator/s of attitudes toward immigration and secondly, to examine the effect of selected factors on it/them. To meet the first aim of the paper, factor analysis and scale internal consistency measures are employed on a set of questionnaire items regarding attitudes towards immigrants. With respect to the second aim of the paper, various regression models are estimated to compare the effect of selected socio-demographic and labor market factors (i.e. age, educational attainment, labour market status, earning capacity, region, size of the settlement, level of proficiency in the country┬┤s official languages and social strata) on the attitudes towards immigrants across different national subgroups of respondents (the native Luxembourgers, immigrants of the first generation, immigrants of the second generation, different national groups of immigrants). The longitudinal nature of the data allows us to examine the evolution of attitudes to immigrants during past decade.