Complexities of Anti-Refugee Sentiment: the importance of historical and societal explanations

Author(s): Evelina Bondareva

Type: Written pitch

Department: Department of Social Policy

Exhibit no: 35

Written Pitch Prize Winner

Anti-refugee sentiment is underpinned by complex societal and historical factors, along with media influence and resources. Importantly, it is not necessarily a result of negative experiences with refugees. Rather, it can be a perceived threat with roots in history and perceptions of nationhood. In this study, I explored the roots of anti-refugee sentiment in Latvia and the reasons behind a powerful reaction from the media and the public in response to a decision to accept 374 refugees.

The research unveiled historically rooted opinions that shape the society’s attitudes towards refugees and consequently, to the arising political and social challenges.