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Prejudice as a Response to Perceived Group Threat: Population Composition and Anti-Immigrant and Racial Prejudice in Europe

Lincoln Quillian
American Sociological Review
Vol. 60, No. 4 (Aug., 1995), pp. 586-611
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096296
Page Count: 26
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Prejudice as a Response to Perceived Group Threat: Population Composition and Anti-Immigrant and Racial Prejudice in Europe
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Abstract

Following the work of Blumer (1958), I extend and test a theory of prejudice based on perceived threats to dominant racial or national groups by subordinate groups. Perceived threat is hypothesized to be a function of economic conditions and of the size of the subordinate group relative to the dominant group. I test the group-threat theory using a multilevel model that combines population data with survey results on attitudes towards immigrants and racial minorities from Eurobarometer Survey 30. "Group threat" explains most of the variation in average prejudice scores across the 12 countries in the sample and has a small but statistically significant effect on the influence of certain individual-level variables on prejudice. These results demonstrate the importance of perceived intergroup threat in the formation of prejudicial attitudes and suggest a re-interpretation of past findings on the relations between individual characteristics and expressions of prejudice.

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