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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
This article analyzes the connection between the socio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, education level, type of settlement, marital status) and attitudes towards migrants of the Russian people. The authors point out that, throughout the course of a decade (2006-2016), over 60% of respondents were negatively assessing the changes occurring in our country due to immigrant presence, which actualizes the need to study the group which bears the utmost negative attitude, with it being considered a latent threat to the stability of society. Based on analyzing contemporary scientific research, we know that in most studies socio-demographic variables are used in regression models, though they are introduced into equations with no initial theoretical assumptions – so any results attained are not discussed, but merely acknowledged. Thus, we have identified that the results of studies of the connection between socio-demographic characteristics and respondents’ attitudes towards migrants are controversial and largely dependent on factors of context (such as the country under examination, its cultural and historical specifics). Based on data from the European social survey (2018), while using a decision tree technique (CHAID), the connection between socio-demographic characteristics and attitudes towards migrants is analyzed with the goal of determining those groups of Russians that hold the most contempt for migrants. As it turns out, such a group is represented by women aged 60-69 with basic secondary education, residing in large cities or their suburbs. An assumption is made about this group of the population possibly being influenced by mass media, which is escalating an “immigration panic”. Overall the analysis shows that the connection between socio-demographic characteristics and attitudes towards migrants is not a constant pattern. The results and vector of this connection change depending on the year when the study was conducted, on the context, the political situation, as well as other factors. The only exception being the connection between education level and attitude towards immigrants: in all of the examined studies a high level of education was invariably associated with a positive attitude towards migrants. In conclusion, the potential of qualitative methods was assessed – them being a viable option for further studying the topic – as well as the media’s role in shaping the image of immigrants in the public mind.
sociology, immigrants, European social research, socio-demographic characteristics, decision tree method, CHAID, attitude towards immigrants, context factor, mass media
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