American Sociological Association

Causal Relationship or Not? Nationalism, Patriotism, and Anti-immigration Attitudes in Germany

Despite broad research on the connection between in-group and out-group attitudes, empirical studies dealing with the relationship between nation-related and anti-immigration attitudes rarely provide a consistent theoretical framework. On one hand, it is assumed that if persons agree with nationalistic statements, they might develop an orientation against strangers. On the other hand, one might imagine the existence of simple factor correlations among nationalism, patriotism, and anti-immigration attitudes. It can be argued that if people form a group, they will be automatically confronted with out-group members. Both proposals can claim some plausibility. But as several empirical studies mirror varying theoretical assumptions, the author compares different structure models on the basis of German International Social Survey Programme data. Two models lead to satisfactory solutions. Their respective theoretical meaning is discussed in detail. As a result, personal construct theory is integrated here as a theoretical framework with which to explain the correlational structure of a model with three factors without assuming any causality between them.


Horst-Alfred Heinrich





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