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Who We Are and Who Can Join Us: National Identity Content and Entry Criteria for New Immigrants

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Pehrson Samuel , Green Eva G. T. ,
Project MOSAiCH 2011
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Social Issues
Volume (Issue) 66(4)
Page(s) 695 - 716
Title of proceedings Journal of Social Issues
DOI 10.1111/j.1540-4560.2010.01671.x


We argue that attitudes about immigration can be better understood by paying closer attention to the various ways in which national group boundaries are demarcated. We describe two related lines of work that address this. The first deals with national group definitions and, based on evidence from studies carried out in England and analyses of international survey data, argues that the relationship between national identification and prejudice toward immigrants is contingent on the extent to which ethnic or civic definitions of nationality are endorsed. The second, which uses European survey data, examines support for ascribed and acquired criteria that can be applied when determining who is permitted to migrate to one's country, and the various forms of national and individual threat that affect support for these criteria. We explain how the research benefits from a multilevel approach and also suggest how these findings relate to some current policy debates.