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Identity, immigration, and prejudice in Europe: a recognition approach
Title of the book
Handbook of Identity Theory and Research
New York : Springer
Schwartz S. J., Luyckx K., Vignoles V. L.
Social identity is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, identifying with a social group is a prerequisite for the sharing of common norms and values, solidarity, and collective action. On the other hand, in-group identification often goes together with prejudice and discrimination. Today, these two sides of social identification underlie contradictory trends in the way European nations and European nationals relate to immigrants and immigration. Most European countries are becoming increasingly multicultural, and anti-discrimination laws have been adopted throughout the European Union, demonstrating a normative shift towards more social inclusion and tolerance. At the same time, racist and xenophobic attitudes still shape social relations, individual as well as collective behaviour (both informal and institutional), and political positions throughout Europe. The starting point for this chapter is Sanchez-Mazas' (2004) interactionist approach to the study of racism and xenophobia, which in turn builds on Axel Honneth's (1996) philosophical theory of recognition. In this view, the origin of attitudes towards immigrants cannot be located in one or the other group, but in a dynamic of mutual influence. Sanchez-Mazas' approach is used as a general framework into which we integrate social psychological approaches of prejudice and recent empirical findings examining minority-majority relations. We particularly focus on the role of national and European identities as antecedents of anti-immigrant attitudes held by national majorities. Minorities' reactions to denials of recognition are also examined. We conclude by delineating possible social and political responses to prejudice towards immigrants.
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