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Politicization of Solidarity Toward Out-Groups: The Case of Refugees

Maggini, Nicola, Fernández G. G., Eva
TheAmerican behavioral scientist 2019 v.63 no.4 pp. 475-491
politics, refugees, regression analysis, surveys, Europe
This study aims to explain the solidarity behavior toward a specific needy group that is not part of the national community (refugees) in comparison with vulnerable in-groups (the disabled or the unemployed), taking into account the interplay between individuals’ political orientations and their social dispositions based on the ranking preferences of solidarity beneficiaries. Through a multivariate regression analysis of survey data in eight European countries, we find that respondents’ ranking preferences have a lower impact on solidarity practices toward refugees, which are strongly fostered by progressive political orientations. This means that support for refugees relies on a universalistic conception of solidarity and entails political commitment to both leftist positions on economic issues and to libertarian stances on cultural issues. The latter only affect solidarity actions toward needy out-groups, unveiling the tensions between universalistic-particularistic concerns that are embodied in individual perceptions of deservingness between groups and in the cultural–identitarian dimension of political conflict.