Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Katja Schmidt

Katja Schmidt

BGSS Generation 2018



Immigration and Public Opinion



The strong increase in immigration to Germany in recent years has society faced with remarkable challenges. The aftermath of the so-called refugee crisis of 2015, on the one hand, evokes broad civil engagement within society; on the other hand, however, new movements have formed, articulating strong rejection against immigrants and refugees. Public opinion towards immigrants is a crucial driver for two highly important societal aspects: First, for public policy; and second, for successful integration. Therefore, it is of great interest to gain well-grounded empirical insights on attitudes and attitude changes towards immigrants and refugees.

In my proposed doctoral thesis, I will first detect whether social change within German society is taking place and predict possible future developments. Therefore, I put a special focus on differences between birth-cohorts, socioeconomic traits and value prioritisations. Second, I will analyse whether there is a proximity effect of refugee housing on local attitudes. In a third step, I focus on the link between changes in media coverage of migration-related news and within person changes in worries about immigration. Public perceptions of immigration shift under different conditions of threat, whereby threat perceptions are much dependent on media coverage. By implementing news coverage as an independent variable, I will investigate how perceived threat associated with immigration affects worries about immigration and therewith public opinion. Insights from multilevel analysis, as well as longitudinal data and exclusively collected data, contribute to previous research and can help finding conclusions on how to best moderate and manage immigration in the host society.



German Institute for Economic Research (DIW)