A Threat in the Air? Perceptions of Group Discrimination in the First Years after Migration: Comparing Polish Migrants in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland


Discrimination is a problem for both minority groups and the societies in which they live. Perceived group discrimination reflects the direct experiences of immigrants but is also an indicator of reception context and social cohesion in the host country. This paper examines perceptions of group discrimination among recently migrated Polish immigrants to four Western European countries, and specifically focuses on changes over time in these individual perceptions, using a new longitudinal survey of immigrants. Are there cross-national differences in (changes in) perceived group discrimination, and how is discrimination related to exposure to and experiences in the host country? By employing a panel design we find that perceived discrimination is higher among Polish migrants in the Netherlands in Wave 1 than in the other three countries; perceptions of discrimination also increase more there between waves of the survey, as well as in the UK. Perceptions of group discrimination are related to some aspects of exposure to the host country, but most strongly associated with negative experiences in the host country. Differences in country contexts – attitudinal climate and national discourses – seem to play a role in understanding perceived group discrimination among new Polish immigrants in Western Europe.

Source: Ethnicities , Vol 16 , Issue 2, 2016 , pp. 290-315

Ethnicities , Vol 16 , Issue 2, 2016 , pp. 290-315
Author(s):Frances McGinnity , Merove Gijsberts
Publication Date:04 Apr 2016
Geographic Focus:Germany, the Netherlands, UK, Ireland
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