Some take context more seriously
Stojek, Szymon Mikolaj
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In recent decades immigration has become the focal point of change in social and political attitudes of Europeans. This dissertation, in a series of articles, explores how ideological predispositions shape contemporary attitudes and voting behavior of natives in the age of migration. I develop a general model whereby individual-level ideological values interact with contextual factors. This model is tested against a variety of attitudinal and behavior outcomes from immigration and welfare attitudes to voting for radical right wing parties. Focusing on the 2000s, I am able to show complexity with which ideological values – especially those associated with ‘right-wing’ ideology – relate to individual attitudes and electoral choices in various contexts. In chapter one, I provide a brief motivation for and an overview of the study of immigration-related attitudes – especially as they are linked to ideological predispositions – and develop general research questions guiding this dissertation. In chapter two, I examine how ideological predispositions interact with presence of immigrants in forming individually held immigration attitudes and policy preferences. I find that while both conservative and authoritarian predisposed hold more negative views of immigrants than other natives, these predispositions react differently to immigrant presence when forming immigration related attitudes. In chapter three, I peruse the question welfare solidarity and exclusion as it related to immigrants. I find that while authoritarians are relatively supportive of general redistribution, conservatives tend to oppose it, and for conservatives this opposition to redistribution is stronger in higher immigrant contexts. Further, I find that both conservative- and authoritarian-predisposed hold negative perception of immigrant welfare participation, but only those with authoritarian predisposition increase their negative view in contexts with larger immigrant presence. Chapter four turns towards one of the most studied questions at the intersection of immigration and ideology literatures. The question of what explains a variation in populist radical right parties’ support in Europe. Findings provide evidence that those RRW parties which moderate their economic position while maintaining the radical right cultural position (larger cultural-economic distance) receive on average more support than do those parties which maintain more neoliberal economic position. I find this pattern in examination of aggregate party-level positions and electoral outcomes, as well as individual’s voting preferences. Moreover, survey data analyses confirmed that the cultural-economic distance position increased the probability that individuals who hold more centrist economic positions were more likely to support such party than were those individuals located at the far right of economic ideological dimension. Concluding chapter summarizes this contribution, discusses its possible future applications as well as limitations.