PSYCHOLOGICAL DETERMINANTS OF POLITICAL ORIENTATION AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS IMMIGRANTS IN BULGARIA
- attitudes to immigrants,
- political values,
- conservative value complex
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The influence of basic human values on citizens’ ideo-political orientation has been extensively documented in the literature. An important component of political orientation, attitudes towards immigrants in host societies are no exception in their dependence on some of the personal value categories identified by Schwartz in his Theory of basic values (Schwartz 1992).
The results of two studies that employ Schwartz’s value categories and aim to explore the relationship between Bulgarian citizens’ values and their attitudes towards immigrants in the country are presented. Study 1 is a nationally representative sociological survey, and Study 2 uses qualitative research methods to examine the link between Bulgarian party members’ values on one hand and their political orientation and attitudes towards immigrants on the other. While Study 1 provides evidence of the dependence of Bulgarians’ attitudes towards immigrants on Universalism, Security, Tradition and Self-direction value categories, Study 2 results show a strong dependence of party members’ attitudes towards immigrants on political affiliation, and an insignificant one on individual values. Both studies contribute to ideology and immigration research literature in Bulgaria by proposing and empirically testing a values-based model of ideological orientation that is relevant to the Bulgarian context. Given the prevalence of the “conservative ideological and values complex” (Konstantinov 2022), in Bulgarian society and in other Eastern European countries, the findings could have implications for the analyses of negative attitudes towards immigration not only in the Balkan country but in the wider post-Soviet space as well.
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