Social change as a source of macrosocial stress: does it enhance nationalistic attitudes? A cross-cultural study of effects of the EU eastern enlargement

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Series Details Volume 9, Number 1, Pages 65-90
Publication Date February 2007
ISSN 1461-6696
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The paper reports a representative study of inhabitants (age > 13) of the common border regions of Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Based on Stephan and Stephan's integrated threat theory three hypotheses are tested, namely that (1) the experience of threat due to the EU enlargement leads to a higher prevalence of nationalist attitudes, that (2) positive intercultural attitudes lower the impact of enlargement-related threat on nationalism, and that (3) the impact of a threat experience on nationalism will be most pronounced in a border region where status differences and repercussions of historic conflicts are most salient, namely the region where the Czech Republic borders on West Germany (Bavaria).

Findings support the first hypothesis. Hypothesis 2 finds little support, while Hypothesis 3 is largely supported. In the Western Czech/Bavarian border region the most imminent conflict potential exists; only there the hypothesis of a mediation effect of positive interpersonal attitudes finds partial support.

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