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Explaining Differences in Perceived Threat: Why Education Matters

TitleExplaining Differences in Perceived Threat: Why Education Matters
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKonings R, Mosaico M
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date Published06/2020
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number 2035-4983
Keywordsattitudes towards immigrants, Education, perceived threat, socialization theory

Recently, Italy has seen a dramatic increase in violent attacks on immigrants, suggesting that anti-immigrant attitudes are rising in Italy. It has often been found that especially lower educated tend to be unwelcoming towards immigrants. Moreover, an important reason for people to be unwelcoming towards immigrants is that immigrants are perceived to be a threat. Following socialization theory, this paper explores the possibility that the more educated perceive less threat because education socializes them into a culture of openness towards others, whereas the less educated are socialized into a culture in which national identification and traditions are central. The eighth round of the European Social Survey is used and mediation analyses are conducted by means of the process-macro. We find partial mediation, with the more educated perceiving less threat because they attach more importance to openness and less importance to traditions. Whereas we expected the higher educated to be less emotionally attached to Italy, we find them to be higher identifiers. However, national identification did not influence the level of perceived immigrant threat.