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2021, vol. 55, br. 1, str. 77-105
Formiranje i dinamika stavova o izbeglicama u Bugarskoj
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Sofia, Bulgaria

e-adresaanna.mantarova@abv.bg
Projekat:
The study is done in the framework of the project "Social Environment and Deviations: Sustainable Correlations and Situational Influences. Social Deviations in the Context of Contemporary Migration Processes" - Contract DN 05-12/15.12.2016.

Ključne reči: izbeglice; stavovi prema izbeglicama; diskriminacija; sistemi vrednosti
Sažetak
U talasu izbeglica koji je zahvatio Evropu posle 2011. godine, u Bugarsku je došlo na desetine hiljada migranata, zbog čega se društvo suočilo sa neočekivanim izazovima. Cilj ove studije jeste da utvrdi kakve stavove Bugari imaju prema izbeglicama, šta utiče na ove stavove, da li i kako se menjaju s vremenom. Studija je zasnovana na podacima sakupljenim u anketama iz 2017. i 2019. i anketama iz područja sa centrima za smeštaj izbeglica. Novina u ovom radu jeste to što on ne samo otkriva stavove i prepoznaje njihovu uzajamnu zavisnost, već i to što takođe prati dinamiku tokom vremena. Zaključak je da se s vremenom smisao pretnje smanjuje, te da se u formiranju stava prema izbeglicama sve veći značaj pridaje društvenim kvalitetima umesto verskoj, rasnoj ili etničkoj pripadnosti.

Introduction

Bulgaria is far from the hot spots on the planet, which generate migration flows of millions. It is not even a final destination, but only a transit corridor that is not on the main routes to Western Europe at that. Although it did not face such migratory pressure as other neighbouring countries, Bulgaria was also significantly affected by the so-called wave of refugees.1 From 01.01.2011 to 31.12.2019, a total of 68,699 applications for protection were filed in Bulgaria. Refugee status was granted to 12,147 people, and 7,547 people were granted humanitarian protection. It is obvious that the causes generating numerous migratory flows to Europe will persist and will increase in the context of the economic crisis and deepening inequalities accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the topic of the attitudes to immigrants/refugees is of particular importance. The present study aims to establish what are the attitudes formed in Bulgarian society to this group, what influences them and whether and how they change over time.2

Theoretical framework

Theoretically, the study is based on existing concepts about the determinants of attitudes to immigrants (refugees as a special case of immigrants). In the specialized literature as factors influencing attitudes are indicated perception of the threat of coming/presence of immigrants in the country; socio-demographic characteristics; experience in cross-cultural contacts.

Threats (expectation of negative consequences related to the arrival and presence of immigrants) are grouped as real (economic) and symbolic (value-related) (Riek et al., 2006; Scheepers et al., 2002; Sniderman et al., 2004; Stephan & Renfro, 2002; Esses et al., 2001; Quillian, 1995; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999; Sears & Henry, 2003).

To characterize the attitudes to refugees through a wide spectrum of questions, information was collected about their views on the commitments of the State with regard to meeting a certain range of their needs, readiness for spatial and social proximity, equality, participation in and approval of activities aimed at refugees.

The potential threats are divided into three groups - in respect of security (personal and of the society), of the economic situation (expectations of the financial situation of the State to deteriorate due to the accommodation and subsistence of refugees, of redirecting funds earmarked for other purposes, of newcomers to occupy the jobs of the locals and reduction of the cost of labour) and for the national identity (to disturb the ethnic balance in the future, to endanger the national culture and to endanger religious practices and beliefs).

Along the basic socio-demographic characteristics, we assumed a hypothesis that a wider range of personal characteristics will have an impact and we included questions related to the value systems, with a special emphasis on the importance of fundamental EU values that are relevant to the topic of immigrants and refugees.

As for the experience in cross-cultural contacts as a determinant of prejudice and the perception of symbolic threats and attitudes against immigrants (Petigrew & Tropp, 2011), since there is no significant number of immigrants in Bulgaria, the questions used in other countries regarding contacts with immigrants, here they cannot be expected to be useful for establishing dependence (only 10.6% in 2017 and 11.7% in 2019 had contacts).

Given the national specifics and the fact that our interest is focused on the attitudes to the now coming immigrants from the Middle East (who are mostly Muslims), in the survey we focused on looking for slightly different but relevant information – the presence and respectively reflection of contacts with locals practicing Islam – contacts that are objectively possible and inevitable in localities with significant presence of Muslim population. Therefore, we collected information on the religions prevalent in the respondents’ locality and the homogeneity/heterogeneity in this respect.

Results and comment

In order to establish the positions regarding the State’s commitments to immigrants, in the survey a set of services that meet human needs with different degree of importance was proposed for assessment (Figure 1).

Figure 1 What should the state provide for refugees?
Графикон 1
Шта држава требада обезбеди избеглицама?

The survey showed that despite the poor economic situation of a large part of the population (according to self-assessments it is poor in 24.7% of respondents), between three quarters and four fifths were in favour of the State to provide refugees with meeting their basic needs – shelter, food, medical care. The share of positive answers decreases dramatically when it came to the provision of additional services – language training, education, work, although they are very important for adaptation and integration in the host society.

In 2017, the opinion that refugees should live in closed centres – 74.2% clearly dominated. Two years later, however, a significant change was noticed – less than half of the respondents held this position (Figure 2).

Figure 2 Where should refugees live?
Графикон 2
Где избеглице треба да живе?

In 2017, the disagreement with spatial proximity was strongly expressed. 79.3% were against refugees settling in the community (neighbourhood), and 83.7% were against having an accommodation centre in the vicinity. Two years later, there was a very tangible change on this issue as well – the share of respondents who gave the above answers dropped to 70.9%.

The surveys reveal discriminatory attitudes to immigrants in relation to jobs and access to social assistance. Only half of the respondents are for equality of labour rights, and even less – 38.3% – in the areas with centres. The survey from 2019 provides a more differentiated picture, referring to various components of employment relationships (Figure 3).

Figure 3 How to deal with immigrants?
Графикон 3
Како поступати са мигрантима?

It should be added that 21.5% of the respondents expressed the opinion that if they were employers and needed workers, they would also hire foreigners for whom they were not sure that they had a work permit. Moreover, this answer was given much more often by categories that are likely to be employers – farmers, private entrepreneurs, skilled workers/technicians. This means that there is a real possibility for discriminatory attitudes to be expressed in discriminatory practices. Regarding the rights to receive social benefits, only 50.3% of the respondents were in favour of these rights to be identical to those of Bulgarian nationals. In the areas with refugee centres this share was 37.6%.

The information on participation in activities directly concerning immigrants confirms the expectations that the percentages showing actual participation are higher in the places with centres. The largest participation there was in underwriting against the acceptance of refugees – 11.4%. But almost as much (given the size of the random error) were for supporting activities – collecting various types of aid (9.5%). For the country as awhole, the amount of participants is symbolic. Regarding the expressed approval for certain activities related to the presence of refugees (Figure 4), the differences between the two groups are significantly reduced, and in terms of supporting activities (aid collection and voluntary work) the positive answers in the national sample are more than those in places with centres.

Figure 4 Approval of some actions
Графикон 4
Одобравање одређених поступака

The 2017 survey indicated that the local population definitely associates the presence of refugees with the risk of adverse consequences (Figure 5) – risk of import of terrorism (84.4%), risk of an increase in various types of crime (66.2%), disease (74.1%); a burden for the Bulgarian society (by 83.4%), negative impact on the labour market (50.2%).

Figure 5 Perceptions of some threats
Графикон 5
Перцепција појединих претњи

Although not a problem of today, more than two-thirds of people point to another risk – a threat to ethnic balance and national identity. It is interesting that in this respect, people in the country are much more concerned than those in places with centres.

The survey of 2019 outlined a certain change and some reassurance. The most serious threat was the financial burden that will be borne by the social system – it was indicated by 79.3% of respondents. According to 48.8%, the cost of labour would decrease. Now significantly fewer people see a threat to jobs – 42.2%. There is a very serious decrease in the fear of import of terrorism – here the decline was about 20 points - from 84.4% to 65.7%. The share of people who see immigrants as a threat to the personal security of the local population remained at 66.1%. There was a decrease in the share of people who say that immigrants bring diseases – from 74.1% to 67.8%. The most significant was the decrease in the number of respondents, who believe that immigrants would endanger our national culture – from 74.9% they fell to 42.4%, which is probably largely due to the observation that they do not stay in the country.

Determinants of attitudes

Surprisingly, respondents who say that the State should provide refugees with shelter, food and medical care among those who fully agree with the statements that the latter are an excessive financial burden, that they pose a threat of terrorism, diseases, etc., are by tenor more percentage points more than among those who rather disagree with these statements (Table 1).

Table 1. What should the state provide and perceptions of some threats1 (in %)
Табела 1. Шта држава треба да обезбеди и перцепције одређених претњи1 (у %)

Shelter /
Смештај
Food /
Храна
Healthcare /
Здравствена заштита
National sample / Национални узорак 76,5 76,3 79,9
Their subsistence imposes significant financial burden / Њихово издржавање намеће огроман финансијски терет
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем/


70,2
77,5


76,1
72,1


83,1
70,2
They take the jobs of the locals / Они одузимају послове локалном становништву
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


70,1
78,


70,6
79,4


80,2
80,3
They pose a threat of terrorism / Они представљају терористичку претњу
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


78,6
72,0


77,9
72,6


84,5
70,1
They commit crimes against the locals / Они врше кривична дела против локалног становништва
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


69,8
12,8


68,1
76,6


79,7
75,0
They carry diseases / Они преносе болести
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


78,7
76,3


76,3
77,5


85,2
75,0
Their settlement will disturb the ethnic balance / Њихово досељавање ће пореметити етничку равнотежу
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


63,9
85,6


63,4
85,6


72,2
85,6

1 The comparison of variations in attitudes depending on the perception of threats is between the positions “fully agree” and “rather disagree”, as the extreme position “totally disagree” is held by a very small number of respondents and its use in search of relationships is not relevant.
1 Поређење варијација у ставовима у зависности од перцепције претњи дато је између ставова „потпуно се слажем” и „уопште се не слажем”, где екстремни став „уопште се не слажем” има веома мали број испитаника, па његова употреба у потрази за везама није релевантна.

Obviously, fundamental universal values in this case are determining, and the fear and awareness of the spending of financial resources recede into the background. However, when it comes to the provision of additional services (Table 2), not only the share of positive responses decreased dramatically, but also the relationship with the perception of threats was quite pronounced.

Table 2. What should the state provide and perceptions of some threats(in %)/
Табела 2. Шта држава треба да обезбеди и перцепције одређених претњи (у %)

Education /
Образовање
Language courses /
Курсеви језика
Jobs /
Послови
National sample / Национални узорак 76,5 76,3 79,
Their subsistence imposes significant financial burden / Њихово издржавање намеће огроман финансијски терет
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


24,5
54,8


21,8
55,8


12,7
38,8
They take the jobs of the locals / Они одузимају послове локалном становништву
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


18,6
42,4


20,3
41,2


14,1
23,9
They pose a threat of terrorism / Они представљају терористичку претњу
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


7,7
44,9


22,9
56,1


13,0
29,0
They commit crimes against the locals / Они врше кривична дела над локалним становништвом
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


18,5
53,8


16,8
52,5


10,8
33,6
They carry diseases / Они преносе болести
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


25,9
50,6


20,8
54,4


12,2
35,8
Their settlement will disturb the ethnic balance / Њихово досељавање ће пореметити етничку равнотежу
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


28,2
47,8


26,5
41,3


14,6
26,9

The percentage differences reached 20–30 and more percentage points at Cramer’s V between 0.190–0.320.

It was established that from personal characteristics, value systems influence this aspect of attitudes, in particular the importance attached to values such as ethnic and religious tolerance, solidarity, equality of different cultures, human equality (Table 3).

Table 3. What should the state provide for refugees and the degree of importance attached to basic values2 (in %)
Табела 3. Шта држава треба да обезбеди избеглицама и који је степен значаја који се придаје основним вредностима2 (у %)

National sample /
Национални узорак
Ethnic and religious tolerance /
Етничка и верска толеранција
Equality of different cultures /
Једнакост различитих култура
Solidarity /
Солидарност
Equality between people /
Једнакост међу људима
very important /
веома важна
of little importance of little importance /
од малог значаја
very important /
веома важна
of little importance /
од малог значаја
very important /
веома важна
of little importance /
од малог значаја
very important /
веома важна
of little importance /
од малог значаја
Shelter / Смештај 76,5 80,6 73,5 80,8 78,5 82,6 76,6 85,5 71,8
Food / Храна 76,3 80,1 73,9 82,4 76,4 83,6 75,3 84,8 73,6
Healthcare / Здравственa заштита 79,9 81,1 86,4 83,4 85,0 83,1 84,4 86,2 83,6
Education / Образовање 39,1 58,3 23,5 49,7 24,1 59,2 18,2 46,0 29,4
Language courses /Курсеви језика 38,0 62,1 21,6 56,3 18,0 57,8 16,9 46,2 23,9
Employment / Запослење 23,6 43,7 11,7 36,3 9,8 45,0 7,8 29,4 13,8

2 The comparison of variations in attitudes depending on the importance given to values is between the positions “very important” and “of little importance”, as the extreme position “it doesn’t matter at all” is held by a very small number of respondents and its use in search of relationships is not relevant.
2 Поређење варијација у ставовима у зависности од перцепције претњи дато је између ставова „веома важно” и „од малог значаја”, где екстремни став „уопште није важн” има веома мали број испитаника, па његова употреба у потрази за везама није релевантна.

And while there were no particularly significant differences for the provision of basic services (and they were completely absent in the case of medical care), regarding the provisionof additional ones, the differences were quite noticeable (Cramer between 0.311 and 0.210). Accordingly, the differences between those who gave one or another answer were of the order of tens of points.

When it comes to spatial proximity/distance from refugees, as the strongest determining factors primarily stand perceptions of threats (Table 4) and in particular, security threats.

Table 4. Attitudes to spatial proximity to immigrants and perceptions of some threats (in %)
Табела 4. Ставови о просторној близини миграната и перцепције одређенихпретњи (у %)

Should live in closed centers Consent that refugees settle in the community / neighbourhood Consent to have a refugee accommodation centre in the vicinity
National sample /Национални узорак 75,9 20,7 16,3
Their subsistence imposes significant financial burden / Њихово издржавање намеће огроман финансијски терет
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем



88,6
25,0



10,7
43,3



11,8
32,7
They take the jobs of the locals / Они одузимају послове локалном становништву
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


88,6
71,7


14,1
26,5


11,3
18,5
They pose a threat of terrorism / Они представљају терористичку претњу
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем


87,4
65,7


11,2
36,1


12,2
18,7
They commit crimes against the locals / Они врше кривична дела над локалним становништвом
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем



92,7
54,1



6,4
39,1



5,9
29,9
They carry diseases / Они преносе болести
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем

87,6
63,7

10,3
32,7

12,9
22,5
Their settlement will disturb the ethnic balance / Њихово досељавање ће пореметити етничку равнотежу
fully agree / потпуно се слажем
rather disagree / уопште се не слажем



90,0
63,5



9,1
30,7



7,8
29,0

The values of the Cramer’s (V) show the strongest relation with the perception of threat of immigrants to commit crimes against local residents (V=0.363). As for other types of the defined as material threats – those related to the entry of immigrants into the labour market and the necessary financial means for their support, the dependence is weaker. The impact of symbolic threats is quite pronounced. Respondents, who fully agree with the statement that the settlement of immigrants in the future will disturb the ethnic balance, agree immigrants to settle in their localities/neighbourhoods much less than the average level (9.1% at 20.6% national average and 52.6% of respondents who do not share this opinion).

From the socio-demographic characteristics, our data show a significant influence of the religious affiliation (V=0.253), education (V=0.207), financial situation (V=0.191). As expected, Muslims are twice as likely (47.8%) to agree to coexist with immigrants. People with higher education (33.3%) and those in the age group between 30 and 50 are also more prone to neighbourhood.

The acceptance of fundamental EU values such as ethnic and religious tolerance (V=0.386), equality of different cultures (V=0.210), solidarity and free movement of people, goods and capital (V=0.168) also has its impact (Figure 6, Figure 7).

Figure 6 Opinions where should refugees live and the importance attached to certain values
Графикон 6
Мишљења о томе где избеглице треба да живе и значај који се придаје одређеним вредностима

Figure 7 Consent that refugees settle in the community/neighbourhood and the importance attached to certain values
Графикон 7
Сагласност о томе да избеглице треба да живе у заједници/суседству и значај који се придаје одређеним вредностима

Among persons for whom tolerance is insignificant, the share of those who responded that refugees should live in closed centres was 88.3%, while among those for whom it is very important, it was significantly lower – 55.2%. Conversely, for the accommodation of immigrants in housing at external addresses were respectively 4.9% and 18.4%.

As for the reluctance regarding immigrant children studying together with children from the local population, the biggest differences were found in connection with the perception of a symbolic threat, namely that the settling of immigrants in the future will disturb the ethnic balance (V=0.355). Among those who fully agree with this, 77.7% were supporters of education in separate classes. Security threats also shows quite strong impact. First, the fear that immigrants will commit crimes against locals (V=0.346). Of those who fully support this statement, 79.2% were in favour of separating the children of immigrants in separate classes, while only 44.0% of those who do not accept it held this position. Although less pronounced, there is a relationship with other aspects of the security threat - participation of immigrants in organized crime (V=0.246), import of terrorism (V=0.134). In this case, a significant influence of the perception of purely economic threats is also observed (V between 0.233 and 0.217).

From the socio-demographic characteristics, influence was established of education (V=0.272), place of residence (V=0.212), religion (V=0.187), age (V=0.157). In summary, the strongest supporters of isolation are persons with primary and secondary education, residents of regional cities, surprisingly – atheists and the youngest (18–29 years old). On the contrary, for joint education are mostly university graduates, people living in Sofia, Muslims and people between 30 –39 years old. Interestingly, such a situation-relevant value as human equality is not related to the opinion of where immigrant children should study.

As for the experience of intercultural communication, those living in localities with almost entirely Christian population were the most discriminatory – 63% of them do not want children of immigrants to study with local children. The opposite position – coed school (42.1% nation average) – much more often were held by persons living in localities where the two main religions in the country are distributed almost equally (47.0%) and in those where Islam dominates (47.4%).

Interestingly, the biggest differences in terms of equality in the field of labour are observed in connection with the assessment of security risks - crime, import of terrorism, disease transmission. Among the perceptions of threats, the dependence on the claim that immigrants take local jobs and the support for equality in labour rights is very low. This leads to the assumption that the negative attitude to equality on the labour market is nota rational conclusion from specific assessments, but is a product of rejection and fear of amore general nature.

Discriminatory attitudes demonstrate consistency with a number of socio-demographic characteristics. Most often they are expressed by young people between 18 and 29 years of age (56.5% are against the provision of equal rights to employment) and adults over 60 years old (57.6%). They are also very common among the less educated – those with primary and basic education (57.7% and 69.2%, respectively). Surprisingly (given the higher level of education), only 43.4% of the capital’s residents are in favour of equal labour rights. There are significant differences depending on the ethnicity. Unlike the Turkish (77.8% are for equal labour rights), only 42.9% of the Roma hold this position. Probably in the face of newcomers (who are generally less educated) they see competitors for the jobs available to them. The survey indicated a significant relationship with the financial situation of the respondents (V=0.279). While people with very good and good economic well-being were for equality (69.4% and 69.1% respectively), those with satisfactory and poor status definitely expressed discriminatory attitudes – only 46.2% of the former and 35.3% of the latter were in favour of equality. The influence of life satisfaction in general is similar. With its decrease, the share of supporters of equality declines – 72.1%, 61.5%, 48.5% and 26.7%, respectively.

As for the impact of values, it was quite clearly expressed in ethnic and religious tolerance (V =0.321), equality between different cultures (V=0.300) and solidarity (V=0.214) (Figure 8).

Figure 8 Consent that foreign citizens of countries outside the EU may have the same rights to employment as Bulgarian citizens and the importance attached to certain values
Графикон 8
Сагласност о томе да страни грађани земаља ван ЕУ могу да имајуиста права као грађани Бугарске и значај који се придаје одређеним вредностима

As for other aspects of attitudes, the most intolerant are residents of localities with almost entirely Christian population (35.7% were in favour of equal labour rights), which supports the argument of the positive impact of intercultural contacts and communication.

Logically, the assessment of the financial burden for the country correlates significantly with the position on the issue of equality in the use of social benefits (V=0.273), but it also lags behind other factors – tolerance (V=0.299), with the fear of disease transmission (V=0.291).

The two end-point age groups are the most reserved, giving approximately 41% positive answers. In terms of educational level, the most pronounced discriminatory attitudes showed persons with primary education (67.3% were against equal treatment), while among those with higher education two thirds were for equality. Residents of the capital are quite reserved also in this regard – only 39.1% gave a positive response. Not surprisingly, the Roma, who are the main recipients of social benefits, are largely against the equal treatment of foreigners – 58.8%. Probably they see them as competitors for the distribution of state resources, a significant part of which by now has been for them, and therefore demonstrate a negative attitude. The same explanation is valid for the relationship with the self-assessment of the financial situation (V=0.254). As it worsens, the positive responses decrease significantly – they were respectively 67.3% for people in very good financial status, 65.1% – in good, 46.7% – in satisfactory and 33.3% – in poor.

The acceptance of fundamental EU values, such as ethnic and religious tolerance (V=0.386), equality of different cultures (V=0.210), solidarity and free movement of people, goods and capital (V=0.168), also has its significant impact (Figure 9).

Figure 9 Consent that foreign citizens of countries outside the EU may have the right to receive the same welfare benefits as Bulgarian citizens and the importance attached to certain values
Графикон 9
Сагласност о томе да страни грађани земаља ван ЕУ могу да имају право на исте социјалне бенефиције као грађани Бугарске и значај који се придаје одређеним вредностима

And in this case, the population of localities with mixed population is more tolerant, especially where there is parity between religious communities – 71.4% were for equality.

Significant differences depending on the value systems are also observed in the approval of actions that are in aid of or against immigrants (Table 5).

Table 5. Approval of actions in support of, or against, refugees and the importance attached to certain values (in %)
Табела 5. Одобравање поступака у корист или против избеглица (у %) и значај који се придаје одређеним вредностима

Collection donations for immigrants /Сакупљање донација за мигранте Voluntary work to help immigrants / Добровољни рад ради помоћи мигрантима Petitions against the acceptance of immigrants / Петиције против прихватања миграната Peaceful action against the acceptance of immigrants / Мирне акције против прихватања миграната
National sample / Национални узорак 26,1 21,1 26,7 31,0
Ethnic and religious tolerance / Етничка и верска толеранција
very important / веома важна
of little importance / од малог значаја
46,8

6,8
40,4

6,8
13,8

38,3
18,7

40,7
Freedom of movement / Слобода кретања
very important / веома важна
of little importance / од малог значаја
36,7

13,5
31,6

10,1
24,9

24,3
28,0

27,7
Solidarity / Солидарност
very important / веома важна
of little importance / од малог значаја
43,1

9,8
36,7

8,4
19,4

37,7
24,8

39,9
Equality of different cultures / Једнакост различитих култура
very important / веома важна
of little importance / од малог значаја
37,8

12,8
31,6

9,4
16,1

33,6
22,3

37,3
Equality between people / Једнакост међу људима
very important / веома важна
of little importance / од малог значаја
29,0

21,1
22,3

20,2
17,8

34,9
22,0

39,4

The information indicates that regarding approval of actions in support of immigrants, the relationship with ethnic and religious tolerance is the strongest. Almost half of the respondents for whom it is very important, support the gathering of relief, and more than one third – the involvement in voluntary activities for their aid. Conversely, those for whom this value is not particularly important give such answers about six times less often. Secondly, the impact of solidarity comes up. For the actions aimed at non-admission of immigrants to the country, the dependence, although not so strong, on the equality between different cultures could be seen and right next–with ethnic and religious tolerance. These findings lead to a conclusion about the motivating role of perception, evaluation and position in relation to cultural (respectively religious) differences.

It is important to say that according to the survey, devotion to Bulgaria is not associated with negative attitudes towards refugees, but on the contrary – in parallel with it increases tolerance in its various dimensions and acceptance of the other. It was confirmed, although in a slightly different version, the finding of St. Stamenova that “the stronger the respondents’ attachment to their own Bulgarian ethnic group, the more they are prone to social tolerance towards the ethnic minorities in the country” (Stamenova, 2019).

Conclusions

Initially, attitudes towards refugees were formed mainly under the influence of perceptions of the threats that accompany the arrival and presence of such a large number of people, carriers of another culture and religion, under the influence of fear of the unknown. They were characterized by a significant dose of rejection, desire for isolation, distance and discriminatory treatment. However, it is essential that even in this situation of uncertainty about the future course of events universal values prevail and determine support for existential State aid for refugees. Over time, the feeling of threat weakened in society, some reassurance occurred, and in general, in the formation of attitude towards refugees, more and more importance was given to their social qualities, and not so much to their religious and ethnic affiliation. In this situation, value systems acquire key importance and they are the element that must be emphasized in order to create a favourable environment that will motivate immigrants to settle, adapt, develop and participate in Bulgarian society, and froma problem to become a resource for development.

Acknowledgement

The study is done in the framework of the project “Social Environment and Deviations: Sustainable Correlations and Situational Influences. Social Deviations in the Context of Contemporary Migration Processes” – Contract DN 05-12/15.12.2016.

Endnotes

1Since 2011 - the beginning of the mass arrival in Europe of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa, who claimed to be seeking asylum, the term ‘refugees’ has become popularin the public domain. Although incorrectly used, it was universally accepted to refer to those who massively move to Europe, independently of whether they have the relevant status or at least whether they meet or not the conditions set out in the 1951 Geneva Convention for obtaining it. In fact, only some of the newcomers have been granted refugee status, others have registered applications and are in the process, so legally they are ‘asylum seekers’. In the present work, the analysis is focused on third-country nationals who have entered Bulgaria without the relevant documents and who have registered applications for protection, and along with the term ‘immigrants’ the popular term ‘refugees’ is also used.
2The present analysis is based on information collected in PAPI surveys. They were conducted in 2017 and 2019, representative of the country’s population over 18 years of age. The sample was stratified probability sample (according to NUTS 2 by size of the locality) with a volume of 840 units and weighting by sex and age. Statistical error within 50%=± 3.5%. In 2017, in each of the two towns with accommodation centres – Harmanli and Vrazhdebna – 200 individuals were interviewed according to the same methodology. Statistical error within 50%=± 6.9%.

References

Esses, V.M., Dovidio, J.F., Jackson, L.M., & Armstrong, T.L. (2001). The immigration dilemma: The role of perceived group competition, ethnic prejudice, and national identity. J Soc Issues, 57(3), 389-412. [Crossref]
Pettigrew, T.F., & Tropp, L.R. (2011). When groups meet: The dynamics of intergroup contact. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
Quillian, L. (1995). Prejudice as a response to perceived group threat: Population composition and anti-immigrant and racial prejudice in Europe. Am Sociol Rev, 60(4), 586. [Crossref]
Riek, B.M., Mania, E.W., & Gaertner, S.L. (2006). Intergroup threat and outgroup attitudes: A meta-analytic review. Pers Soc Psychol Rev, 10(4), 336-353. [Crossref]
Scheepers, P., Gijsberts, M., & Coenders, M. (2002). Ethnic exclusion in European countries: Public opposition to civil rights for legal migrants as a response to perceived ethnic threat. Eur Sociol Rev, 18(1), 17-34. [Crossref]
Sears, D.O., & Henry, P.J. (2005). Over thirty years later: A contemporary look at symbolic racism and its critics. In: M. Zanna, (Ed.). Advances in experimental social psychology. (pp. 95-150). New York: Elsevier - Academic Press. [Crossref]
Sidanius, J., & Pratto, F. (1999). Social dominance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sniderman, P., Hagendoorn, L., & Prior, M. (2004). Predisposing factors and situational triggers: Exclusionary reaction to immigrant minorities. Am Polit Sci Rev, 98(1), 35-49.
Stamenova, S. (2019). Political and ethnic influences on the national consciousness of the Bulgarian ethnic majority. Sofia: Paradigma. [In Bulgarian].
Stephan, W., & Renfro, C. (2002). The role of threat in intergroup relations. In: D. Mackie, & E.R. Smith, (Ed.). From prejudice to intergroup emotions: Differentiated reactions to social groups. (pp. 191-207). New York: Psychology Press.
Zorba, H. (2016). Turkish and European Perspectives on Syrian Migration since 2011 (doctoral thesis). Ankara: Yildirim Beyazit University.
Reference
Esses, V.M., Dovidio, J.F., Jackson, L.M., Armstrong, T.L. (2001) The immigration dilemma: The role of perceived group competition, ethnic prejudice, and national identity. Journal of Social Issues, 57(3): 389-412
Pettigrew, T.F., Tropp, L.R. (2011) When groups meet: The dynamics of intergroup contact. Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press
Quillian, L. (1995) Prejudice as a response to perceived group threat: Population composition and anti-immigrant and racial prejudice in Europe. American Sociological Review, 60(4): 586-586
Riek, B.M., Mania, E.W., Gaertner, S.L. (2006) Intergroup threat and outgroup attitudes: A meta-analytic review. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 10(4): 336-353
Scheepers, P., Gijsberts, M., Coenders, M. (2002) Ethnic exclusion in European countries: Public opposition to civil rights for legal migrants as a response to perceived ethnic threat. European Sociological Review, 18(1): 17-34
Sears, D.O., Henry, P.J. (2005) Over thirty years later: A contemporary look at symbolic racism and its critics. u: Zanna M. [ur.] Advances in experimental social psychology, New York: Elsevier - Academic Press, pp. 95-150
Sidanius, J., Pratto, F. (1999) Social dominance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Sniderman, P., Hagendoorn, L., Prior, M. (2004) Predisposing factors and situational triggers: Exclusionary reaction to immigrant minorities. American Political Science Review
Stamenova, Sv. (2019) Political and ethnic influences on the national consciousness of the Bulgarian ethnic majority. Sofia: Paradigma, [In Bulgarian]
Stephan, W., Renfro, C. (2002) The role of threat in intergroup relations. u: Mackie D., Smith E.R. [ur.] From prejudice to intergroup emotions: Differentiated reactions to social groups, New York: Psychology Press, pp. 191-207
Zorba, H. (2016) Turkish and European Perspectives on Syrian Migration since 2011. Ankara: Yildirim Beyazit University, doctoral thesis
 

O članku

jezik rada: srpski, engleski
vrsta rada: izvorni naučni članak
DOI: 10.5937/socpreg55-30302
primljen: 13.01.2021.
prihvaćen: 25.02.2021.
objavljen u SCIndeksu: 16.04.2021.
metod recenzije: dvostruko anoniman
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