Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 12 Issue 5 (September/October 2002), Pages 309-375

Does European citizenship breed xenophobia? European identification as a predictor of intolerance towards immigrants (pages 323-337)


The European Union is generally perceived as endorsing universalistic and multi‐cultural values. However, social identity and self‐categorization theories predict that, when certain conditions are met, a negative relation between ingroup identification and tolerance towards outgroup members should be observed. We argue that the creation of the status of ‘Citizen of the Union’ in Maastricht may contribute to meeting those conditions and therefore to increase intolerance towards resident foreigners. If that is the case, a paradoxical situation could emerge, in which people's levels of tolerance towards foreigners would contradict group values. We examined the relations between values associated with Europe, European and national identification, and tolerance towards foreigners through a survey study with a—non‐representative—sample of undergraduate French‐speaking Belgian students. Results show that Europe was generally associated with humanistic values. But they also reveal that strong European identifiers tended to express more xenophobic attitudes than weak European identifiers, whilst national identification was not related with such attitudes. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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