Successful collaboration begins with a shared language, hence the need for a glossary. This joint effort of contributors from several teams ensures, on the one hand, terminological and conceptual coherence across not only our theoretical approaches, but also the qualitative case studies and quantitative research conducted in OPPORTUNITIES. On the other hand, our glossary facilitates communication between the academic side of the project and the fieldwork conducted by NGOs, uniting our teams working from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Senegal.

For more information about the Structure and Objectives of the Glossary, click here...)

The concept of threat perceptions relates to the question of to what extent citizens believe that migration is posing a threat for themselves and their country. Group conflict theory (GCT) (Blumer 1958; Blalock 1967) states that people may feel anxious about migration. The “in-group” wants to protect their social structures from the competition of “outsiders” who are often referred to as the “out-group.” The main assumption behind this theory is that valuable resources within a society (e.g., jobs, housing, access to healthcare, etc.) are scarce, and that migration increases competition over such resources. It is, moreover, assumed that members of the in-group seek to protect their social identity, irrespective of whether they can safeguard their socioeconomic position (Scheepers et al. 2008). However, threat perceptions of migrants and refugees do not result exclusively from economic reasoning, but they may also have cultural and ethnic causes such as the fear of an alleged ‘Islamization’ of the country as well as the demise of ‘Western values’ (Goubin et al. 2022, 9–10).

⇢ see also Attitudes, beliefs, and values, Crisis, Frames of migration, Othering, Racism, Terrorism

References and further reading:

Blalock, Hubert M. 1967. Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Relations. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Blumer, Herbert. 1958. “Race Prejudice as Sense of Group Position.” The Pacific Sociological Review 1.1: 3–7.

Goubin, Silke, Anna Ruelens, and Ides Nicaise. 2022. “Trends in Attitudes towards Migration in Europe: A Comparative Analysis.” KU Leuven, HIVA – Research Institute for Work and Society. [Working paper of the OPPORTUNITIES project 101004945 – H2020.]

Scheepers, Peer, Mérove Gijsberts, and Marcel Coenders. 2002. “Ethnic Exclusionism 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.

Category: A

Work Package: 2, 4, 5

[SG / AR / IN]