Tijdschrift voor Sociologie vol:28 issue:3-4 pages:368-397
Migrant workers and new immigrants from the citizen's perspective: a qualitative study
While Belgium is still trying to come to terms with the presence of migrant workers and their families, it is confronted today with a growing and uncontrollable international migration from all over the world. Meuleman and Billiet (2003) were among the first to study the attitude of the autochthonous population towards these new immigrants.They characterized this attitude as a 'diffuse ethnocentrism'. In the qualitative study of semi-structured interviews presented here we analyze this phenomenon with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). We find a diffuse ethnocentrism in the attitude of unskilled and semi-skilled autochthones. Highly-skilled respondents however do make a distinction between migrant workers and new immigrants. This picture is even more striking in the interviews with unskilled and semi-skilled immigrants, who state that the new immigrants give 'old immigrants' a bad image. It is furthermore remarkable that the attitude of highly-skilled autochthonous respondents towards the various groups of immigrants hardly differs from the attitude of highly-skilled immigrant respondents.