Dr Aneta Piekut attends 8th European Survey Research Association conference

The 8th Conference of the European Survey Research Association “Highlighting the contribution of survey research in the changing data environment” was held in Zagreb, Croatia, from 15th to 19th July 2019, held by the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Zagreb.

Keynote speech by Professor Barry Schouten (Utrecht University) on “Hybrid data collection in official statistics: Modes, devices and sensor data”

MRG member, dr Aneta Piekut, organised two thematic sessions: (1) Total Survey Error and Cross-Cultural Survey Research: Methodological Challenges and Coping Strategies (with Diana Schacht and Jannes Jacobsen, German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)) and (2) Between Generalisation and Specificity: Attitudes towards Immigrants and Ethnic Minority Groups (with Zuzanna Brunarska, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw).

The second session brought together scholars using quantitative data to analyse cross-national patterns of prejudice and tolerance towards different ethnic minority and immigrant groups. Many public opinion polls only ask about opinions towards a broad category of ‘immigrants’, which brings a question of measure reliability, since respondents may be thinking about very different immigrant or ethnic groups, while answering this kind of questions.

  • Professor Jaak Billiet (CeSO, KU Leuven) overviewed how ‘perceived ethnic threat’ has changed in Flanders (Belgium) in the 1991-2016 period, but also, why cultural and economic threat components of the threat should be investigated separately (as they follow different pattern).
  • Neli Esipova (Gallup) presented recent results of the global Migrant Acceptance Index (MAI), how it varies across countries. Some results can be found here.
  • While evidence on ethnic attitudes comes mostly from Western Europe or North America, Dr Justin Gengler (Qatar University) research explored whether Qataris are more likely to support permanent residency claims of immigrants if they are descent- or economic based.
  • Christian Czymara (Goethe University Frankfurt) combined a quantitative content analysis of four major German newspaper and news magazine articles over 15 years with survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, to find out that more media mentions of immigration issues increases concerns about immigration.
  • Marcus Eisentraut (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences) continued on the issue raised by prof. Billet, and demonstrated that both types of threat symbolic (cultural) and realistic (economic) operate in a different way among various immigrant and ethnicity groups (Muslims, refugees, Sinti and Roma, overall foreigners)
  • Tomislav Pavlović (Institute of social sciences Ivo Pilar) also analysed attitudes to various minority groups, including Roma, Jewish people and Muslims, revealing that contact is not so efficient in lowering prejudice in some contexts.
  • Finally, dr Riccardo Ladini (University of Milan) used fresh results from the European Values Study 2017 for Italy, where some respondents were aske about attitudes towards ‘immigrants’ and some towards ‘foreign workers’. The experiment revealed significant differences in social distance measure, which were more favourable for ‘foreign workers’.

Together the presentations demonstrated that migration scholars have to be cautious how they measure attitudes and quantify prejudice. The commonly studied mechanisms, such as contact hypothesis, integrated threat theory etc., might not work in the same way in case of all immigrant groups and in different ethno-cultural settings.