The spread of certain forms of xenophobia – either explicit or implicit – is being more and more documented in international research studies both in relation to the emergence of social and political movements assuming an anti-immigrant stance, and, more generally, in relation to the sharing of such a stance on the part of the general European public. Our general aim is to develop a multidisciplinary and multilevel analysis to the study of xenophobic thinking which integrates cognitive and discourse analysis. In his cognitive analysis of xenophobia Rydgren (2004) takes into account: 1) illusory correlations, that is perceiving associations between variables that are not associated; 2) analogical strategies; 3) fallacious logical schemata. In this study we enlarge Rydgren’s framework by considering many potentially relevant reasoning tendencies, including various sorts of “focusing” and “mechanization” effects (Cherubini, Castelvecchio, Cherubini, 2005; Cherubini, Mazzocco, Rumiati, 2003) as well as the constraints of human hypothesis testing and belief revision strategies. In this study our purpose is to evaluate their contribution to the genesis of xenophobic ideas which support anti-immigrants stances. We argue that people discursively justify and explain these prejudicial stances through the same thought processes which have been described in laboratory experiments. In order to explore how ‘foreigners’ are represented and which definitions of the issue of immigration emerge in citizens’ discourse we conducted two focus groups, one with Italian participants and the other with foreign ones; the topic discussed in the two focus groups was the multicultural transformation which is involving the city of Milan. A discourse analytic approach was adopted to analyse the verbatim transcripts so to give evidence to the processes of reasoning underlying participants’ discourse. Our aim was to probe their effective role and explanatory power, both in terms of generating or welcoming xenophobic convictions and in terms of supporting argumentative strategies aimed at spreading xenophobic ideas. We found a strong relation between immigrants and crime, in accordance with previous studies. In xenophobic discourse this relation is reinforced emphasizing the idea of cultural differences, which are presented as incompatible. We suggest that the validity of these simplifications is supported by a tendency to establish illusory correlations and to use different kinds of heuristics. Moreover, similar processes of reasoning allow people to handle stereotypes, linking them each other into a more resistant structure.
|Titolo:||Xenophobic reasoning : how we justify and argue anti-immigrant stances in discourse : a preliminary study|
|Autori interni:||BOFFI, MARCO (Primo)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||apr-2007|
|Parole Chiave:||xenophobia ; illusory correlations ; heuristics ; stereotypes ; foreigners ; discourse analysis|
|Enti collegati al convegno:||Center for Research on Prejudice, Warsaw University|
|Citazione:||Xenophobic reasoning : how we justify and argue anti-immigrant stances in discourse : a preliminary study / M. Boffi, P. Cherubini, M. Colombo. ((Intervento presentato al 2. convegno Seminar on victim/perpetrator relations in a changing Europe : prejudice escalation and prejudice reduction tenutosi a Warsaw, Jena nel 2007.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||14 - Intervento a convegno non pubblicato|