Economics, Racism, and Attitudes toward Immigration in the New Germany

By Clark, John A.; Legge, Jerome S., Jr. | Political Research Quarterly, December 1997 | Go to article overview

Economics, Racism, and Attitudes toward Immigration in the New Germany


Clark, John A., Legge, Jerome S., Jr., Political Research Quarterly


A number of different theories have been advanced to explain support for policies which may benefit minority groups. This paper utilizes economic-self interest, traditional racism, and conservative values to explore attitudes of German citizens toward granting political asylum and residency to immigrants. The linear structural relations (LISREL) analysis on a 1991 sample of German citizens suggests that the structure of attitudes is different depending upon which section of Germany (the West or the former German Democratic Republic [GDR]) is considered. East Germans tend to "fuse" traditional racism with conservative values to express a racism argued by "symbolic" theorists while the West Germans tend to separate the concepts, possibly because of the more mature democratic development of West German parties and institutions. In explaining immigration policy, traditional racism tends to dominate the West German model, while economic self-interest partially explains policy attitudes in the former GDR. Still, even in the East, ethnocentrism is a very strong factor in understanding support for restrictive immigration policies. We discuss the implications of the analysis in terms of the literature on American racism and policy reasoning.

Immigration has emerged as a tremendously important issue in nearly all Western nations. Especially crucial is the amount of support citizens are willing to extend in granting citizenship, permits to work, or refugee status in the case of political persecution. Using a 1991 sample of German citizens, this paper explores attitudes toward foreign workers and refugees by employing theories which attempt to explain support or opposition to policies which may benefit minority groups. The chief aim is to explain support for refugee status for those fleeing to Germany and examine the proposition that immigrant workers should be returned to their homelands after their labor is completed.

A number of theories have been advanced which seek to explain attitudes toward policies which may benefit minority groups. First, one may oppose beneficial policies because of economic self-interest. Unskilled workers, those dissatisfied with their economic status, and residents of the economically depressed former German Democratic Republic (GDR) may feel particularly vulnerable to foreign workers and refugees. A second explanation of bigotry is what is sometimes termed "red neck" or traditional racism (Sniderman and Tetlock 1986; Sniderman et al. 1991). Traditional racism consists of crude racial stereotyping which may include beliefs of minority group inferiority as well as expressions of not wanting to associate with a particular group. A final theory is the "symbolic" explanation of bigotry. Developed largely from the American politics literature, this thesis holds that as citizens become more reluctant to express prejudice in overt terms, it sometimes is manifested in conservative parties, ideologies, or policies (Kinder 1986; McConahay 1982). Stating that symbolic racism is a fusion of traditional values and negative racial affect, the symbolic theorists, as a rule, have found a weak linkage between self-interest and hostility to minority groups.

In this article we review theories which bear on sentiment toward immigrant groups and describe attitudes of the public toward them. We then use these theories to test a model of policy preferences toward the immigrants.

SELF INTEREST, TRADITIONAL, AND SYMBOLIC THEORIES OF PREJUDICE: AN APPLICATION TO GERMANY

Germany has faced the "foreigner" problem on two fronts. First, beginning in the early 1960s, the nation imported hundreds of thousands of guest workers (Gastarbeiter) to compensate for labor shortages, especially in lessskilled employment. Recruitment of new guest workers from non-EEC countries was banned in 1973, but many chose to stay in Germany, bringing their families and becoming de facto immigrants. The largest share of these seemingly permanent guest workers came from Turkey (Booth 1992). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Economics, Racism, and Attitudes toward Immigration in the New Germany
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.