Views of Greeks on Migration An Ongoing Debate T. Bakker, V.Tsiligiri & A. Gkiouleka
Current situation• Fourth year of economic crisis.• Golden Dawn in the parliament after the elections of 2012 (7%).• Rise of racist attacks.• Law 3838/10 judged as unconstitutional from the High Court.• Xenios Zeus operation.
Expectations• Racist feelings among Athenian population.• More negative attitudes among Athenians living in areas with high immigrants’ segregation.• High level of perceived threat and difference between women and men.
Methodology• Observation in various areas of Athens.• Interviews: semi-structured, open questions, attention to threatening questions.• Documentation of general discussions that came to attention during the winter course.
21 Interviews Respondents’ characteristicsGender: 14 women / 7 menAge range:• 18-30: 9 respondents• 31-50: 7 respondents• 51 and older: 5 respondentsEmployment Status:• 4 pensioners• 7 university students• 1 unemployed• 9 employed (shop owners, private sector employees, street merchant)
General Findings• Economic crisis and immigration strongly connected in the public discourse.• Concern about the large number of immigrants.• Criminality associated with economic crisis and strongly linked with immigrants.• Immigrants mostly visible in the labor market.
Respondents with negative attitudes• Most negative attitudes expressed in the areas with large numbers of immigrants.• Certain ethnic groups are more stigmatized (Pakistani, Afghan, Bangladeshi, Iraqi)• Perceived threat expressed mostly by women (physical violence associated mostly with men, less with immigrants).• Imputation of disrespect for human life to migrants.• Denial of being racist.• Lack of inter-group relationships.
Respondents with positive attitudes• Racism is a diachronic phenomenon.• Personal threat from Golden Dawn.• Fear of being portrayed as racists.• Personal relationships with migrants.• Immigrants seen as the scapegoats of the economic and social crisis.
Impressions from the respondents’ behaviour• Differences in willingness to talk.• Hot topic, taken very seriously.• No hesitation of mentioning extreme negative thoughts.• Distinction mentioned between the notion of “foreigner” and “immigrant”.
Conclusions & Suggestions• Immigration is considered as a phenomenon to be handled seriously.• The situation is perceived in contradicting ways among people.• Further research for deeper understanding should take place on a larger scale (time & sample).• Focus also should be given to the influence of dominant public discourse (mass & social media), political orientation and contacts with migrants.