Millions of ex-colonials, “guest workers,” refugees, and other immigrants have settled in western Europe during recent decades. Extensive research on this phenomenon broadens sociology's understanding of intergroup relations in industrial societies. Unlike African Americans, these new Europeans are often viewed as not “belonging,” and gaining citizenship can be difficult. The chapter discusses four major reactions to the new minorities: prejudice, discrimination, political opposition, and violence. Both blatant and subtle forms of prejudice predict anti-immigrant attitudes. And between 1988 and 1991, a hardening took place in these attitudes. Similarly, direct and indirect discrimination against the new minorities is pervasive. Moreover, anti-discrimination efforts have been largely ineffective. Far-right, anti-immigration political parties have formed to exploit this situation. These openly racist parties have succeeded in shifting the political spectrum on the issue to the right. In addition, violence against third-world immigrants has increased in recent years, especially in nations such as Britain and Germany where far-right parties are weakest. The chapter concludes that these phenomena are remarkably consistent across western Europe. Furthermore, the European research on these topics supports and extends North American research in intergroup relations.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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