Now in print: Attitudes to immigrants in South Africa: personality and vulnerability

I’m happy to announce that my article on attitudes to immigrants/foreigners in South Africa has finally made it into print. Most of the academic literature on the topics focuses on the Western world; here I show that the same mechanisms seem to apply more generally.

Part of the motivation for this article is quite topical at the moment: the common view in South Africa that we cannot discern patterns in who is more opposed to immigrants, and the view that South Africa is somehow an exceptional case. Another motivation was to test the validity of the work we do on Western countries.

Heerden, Sjoerdje van, and Didier Ruedin. 2019. ‘How Attitudes towards Immigrants Are Shaped by Residential Context: The Role of Neighbourhood Dynamics, Immigrant Visibility, and Areal Attachment’. Urban Studies 56 (2): 317–334. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098017732692.
Pecoraro, Marco, and Didier Ruedin. 2016. ‘A Foreigner Who Does Not Steal My Job: The Role of Unemployment Risk and Values in Attitudes toward Equal Opportunities’. International Migration Review 50 (3): 628–66. https://doi.org/10.1111/imre.12162.
Pecoraro, Marco, and Didier Ruedin. 2019. ‘Occupational Exposure to Foreigners and Attitudes towards Equal Opportunities’. Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1093/migration/mnz006.
Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 43 (7): 1108–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2018.1428086.

Paper on Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa out Now

I am happy to announce that my paper on attitudes to immigrants in South Africa is now available at the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (JEMS). It all started with a literature on xenophobic violence I could not quite believe. This quote sums it up quite nicely: “All South Africans appear to have the same stereotypical image of Southern Africans.” (Mattes et al. 1999, p.2). It went across what I knew about attitudes to foreigners elsewhere, and crucially I did not come across an explanation why South Africa would be such an exceptional case. Having churned the numbers, I come to quite a different conclusion. Not only are there discernable patterns in South African attitudes to immigrants, but indeed:

When implemented to reflect the specific context, research on attitudes to immigrants appears to generalise to non-Western contexts.

So this paper serves a dual purpose. On the one hand, it shows that what we have learned in Western Europe and North America does indeed seem to apply elsewhere. This is an important test of validity. On the other hand, it presents research on an under-researched country and indeed continent! In a context where xenophobic violence is a recurring phenomenon, I demonstrate that we do not have to tap entirely in the dark.

Supplemental material on OSF, where I also linked a short summary of the research.