Collective memory and attitudes toward asylum seekers: evidence from Israel

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study claims that collective memory has implications for attitudes toward immigration and, particularly, toward refugees and asylum seekers and adds to the factors that shape public opinion on immigration. By using the case of collective memory of the Holocaust in Israel, it examines whether different interpretations of a historical event like the Holocaust are related to attitudes toward asylum seekers and asks specifically: (1) Does collective memory, in the form of particularist and universalist Holocaust ‘lessons,’ affect attitudes toward asylum seekers?; and (2) Can the collective memory of the Holocaust be mobilised to shape attitudes toward asylum seekers? In study 1 (N = 573) a cross-sectional survey of Israeli Jews finds that universalist or particularist beliefs regarding the ‘lessons’ of the Holocaust explain attitudes toward asylum seekers, even beyond the effect of perceived threat. Results from a survey experiment (Study 2, N = 487) about evoking the memory of the Holocaust in order to reduce exclusionist attitudes provide additional insights about the differential impact of Holocaust ‘lessons’ on these attitudes. The mobilisation of collective memory varies across different interpretations of these ‘lessons.’ This study points to the need to include collective memory when analyzing the factors that shape attitudes toward immigrants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1084-1102
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume47
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Collective memory
  • Holocaust
  • Israel
  • asylum seekers
  • survey experiment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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