Perceived Threat and Host Community Acculturation Orientations toward Immigrants: Comparing Flemings in Belgium and Francophones in Quebec

By Montreuil, Annie; Bourhis, Richard Y. et al. | Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, Fall 2004 | Go to article overview

Perceived Threat and Host Community Acculturation Orientations toward Immigrants: Comparing Flemings in Belgium and Francophones in Quebec


Montreuil, Annie, Bourhis, Richard Y., Vanbeselaere, Norbert, Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal


ABSTRACT/RESUME

This empirical study compared the acculturation orientations of host communities whose ethnolinguistic vitality was perceived as somewhat threatened in two national settings: Fancophones in Quebec (N = 206) and Flemings in Belgium (N = 213). Undergraduates completed the Host Community Acculturation Scale (r-HCAS) toward valued and devalued immigrants. The respondents also completed social psychological scales including identification to national groups, ethnocentric and social dominance ideologies, security of ingroup identity, and perceived threat from immigrants. Results showed that in both settings, integrationism and individualism were the most strongly endorsed acculturation orientations. Assimilationism, segregationism, and exclusionism were more strongly endorsed for devalued than for valued immigrants. Overall, Quebec Francophones held more polarized acculturation orientations toward valued versus devalued immigrants compared to Flemings in Belgium. Social psychological correlates differentiating Quebec Francophones and Flemings in Belgium help account for the more polarized acculturation orientations obtained with Quebec Francophone undergraduates.

Cette etude empirique a compare les orientations d'acculturation de communautes d'accueil dont la vitalite ethnolinguistique est perque commc etant precaire: les francophones du Quebec (N=206) et les Flamands de Belgique (N=213). Des etudiants universitaires quebecois et flamands ont complete l'Echelle d'Acculturation de la Communaute d'Accueil (EACA-r) a l'egard d'immigrants valorises et devalorises. Les repondants ont aussi complete des echelles socio-psychologiques incluant l'identification 'a divers groupes nationaux et politiques, les croyances ethnocentriques et de dominance sociale, la perception de securite identitaire et le sentiment d'etre menace par la presence des immigrants. Les resultats demontrent que les Quebecois francophones et les Flamands ont prefere les orientations d'acculturation integrationniste et individualiste. Les orientations assimilationiste, segregationniste et exclusionniste ont ete endossees plus fortement a l'egard des immigrants devalorises qu'a l'egard des immigrants valorises. En general, les Quebecois francophones etaient plus polarises que les Flamands dans leur endossement des orientations d'acculturation envers les immigrants valorises et devalorises. Les correlats sociopsychologiques foumissent des pistes pour expliquer les orientations d'acculturation plus polarisees des Quebecois francophones comparativement aux Flamands.

Emerging research on acculturation processes from the perspective of host community members tends to treat the dominant society as culturally and linguistically homogeneous. However, the coexistence of subnational host communities within receiving countries is the rule rather than the exception in multiethnic societies (Fishman 1999). Countries of settlement are often made up of a dominant majority and subnational indigenous communities whose linguistic, cultural, or religious differences are the source of intergroup tensions that existed well before the arrival of immigrants (Bourhis 2001a; McAndrew and Gagnon 2000). Such is the case in Belgium and Canada.

The first goal of this study was to compare the acculturation orientations of two double status host communities who make up the dominant majority at the regional level (Quebec/Flanders) but who remain a linguistic and cultural minority at the continental level (North America/European Union). This study proposes that host community members who feel less secure linguistically, culturally, and politically are also less likely to be welcoming in their acculturation orientations toward immigrants. In line with recent studies, we also expect that host community members from both Quebec and Flanders are likely to endorse more welcoming acculturation orientations toward valued than devalued immigrants.

IMMIGRANT-HOST COMMUNITY RELATIONS IN QUEBEC AND FLANDERS

In Canada, Francophones and Anglophones are two host communities to which immigrants may acculturate. …

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