Simonsen, Kristina Bakkær. ‘Ripple Effects: An Exclusive Host National Context Produces More Perceived Discrimination among Immigrants’. European Journal of Political Research, vol. 55, no. 2, 2016, pp. 374–390.
This article examines the perceived discrimination of immigrants – a group for whom experiences of discrimination can be damaging for their long-term commitment and identification with the national core group. Taking its point of departure in the literature on national identity, the article argues that perceived discrimination should be strongest among immigrants in host national societies with an exclusive self-image. This hypothesis is examined by use of multilevel regressions on cross-national survey data from 18 Western European countries. It is found that where exclusive attitudes are widespread in the host population, the percentage of immigrants who perceive themselves to be part of a group discriminated against is significantly greater, all else being equal. In addition, there is a cross-level interaction effect of host national inclusivity and ethnic minority identity which suggests that individual-level determinants of perceived discrimination do not ‘work’ in the same way in normatively different contexts. In terms of the implications of these findings, the article points to the importance of contextualising individual-level accounts of perceived discrimination, with particular focus on the power of a society’s attitudinal milieu to affect individual feelings of inclusion and exclusion.