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Robert Naderi (2004)

Attitudes towards Foreigners in Germany*

In: Zeitschrift für Bevölkerungswissenschaft, Vol. 29, 3-4/2004, p. 471-492, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, ISSN: 0340-2398

This article aims to identify attitudes towards foreigners in Germany and their interrelations with regional and social characteristics using the data from the Population Policy Acceptance Study (PPAS). In addition to a description of the interrelations, multivariate analysis is used to examine the influences of various independent variables as to the prevalence of xenophobic stances. An index based on items from the PPAS was used as a dependent variable.

In conclusion, it is shown that a majority of Germans' attitudes towards the foreign population is positive – although a smaller group of individuals exists which can be classed as clearly xenophobic. Characteristics differ between Western and Eastern Germans, as well as between rural and city dwellers, in their reactions to foreigners. Attitudes are more positive in areas in which more foreigners live and where the possibilities for interaction are greater. The analysis shows a polarisation of attitudes between residents of Western German cities and Eastern German rural areas. In the first case, the proportion of foreigners is the highest, there are the most contacts between Germans and foreigners and acceptance is highest. In the second group, the share of foreigners is lowest, contacts much more infrequent and attitudes towards foreigners the most negative. In this respect, attitudes appear to correlate clearly with contact or the possibility of contact between Germans and non-Germans and the associated reduction in the perception of strangeness. The level of education and values held are central influencing factors in all regions. Individuals with a high level of education and fundamental postmaterialist attitudes are significantly more frequently positive in their attitudes towards foreigners.

* Original title: Einstellungen gegenüber Ausländern in Deutschland (full text in German only)

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