Psychology Research Seminar

Date: 29 March 2023
Time: 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Location: In-person and online

“Where you come from” matters: Group status, moral devaluation and prejudice towards immigrants.

Mirona Gheorghiu (Edinburgh Napier University)

The anti-immigration rhetoric often centres on the generic category of “immigrants” or “refugees” who make, mainly illegitimate, claims to be treated like one of us. The inclusivity of this category is advantageous as it includes any foreigner living or wanting to come to the UK. However, listen more carefully, and you start to hear not so subtle references to specific groups of immigrants. For instance, when we talk about “stopping the invasion”, we do not mean Ukrainian refugees, but Albanian men. When we talked about taking back control of our borders, we did not refer to EU nationals from Spain or France but to those from Romania or Poland. In this talk, I argue that “where you come from” matters and that the perceived status of different immigrant groups is fundamental to understanding attitudes and support for anti-immigration policies. Using data from over 25 countries in the European Social Survey spanning 16 years (2002-2018), I will discuss cross-national and temporal trends in discrimination against low-status immigrant groups (e.g., immigrants from poorer countries). Furthermore, based on our own survey in the UK, I will focus on the notion of moral devaluation and its role in denying low-status (but not high-status) immigrant groups claims to belonging to Britain. I conclude by making the case for the need to problematise further the category of “immigrant” in social psychology and to consider the question of immigration as one of status and power.

In-person: David Brewster 1.15, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.