Blurring The Line: How The Ethnicity Of Immigrants Affects Existing Ethnic Relationships In Post-War Serbia Open Access

Djukanovic, Tara (Spring 2021)

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Political scientists have long studied how social group boundaries evolve in response to immigration influxes. Although there has been a great deal of academic focus on the ways that immigration affects in-group relationships in the United States, there is a lack of attention paid to the ways that this causal mechanism exists in post-war societies. This study evaluates the ways ethnically divergent immigration affects in-group boundaries between Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian nationals within the Republic of Serbia, looking particularly at the ways in which ethnic relationships develop in a post-war setting in response to Middle Eastern immigration influxes. To examine this, the study introduces a conceptual framework of context-dependent categorization in Serbia, in which exposure to a new, ethnic minority leads to a new citizen perception of national identity. To test this theory, my study utilizes an experimental survey which primes Serbian respondents on the characteristics of Middle Eastern immigrants entering the country with variations in race, religion, and ethnicity to test how different salient migrant characteristics affect perceptions of Bosnians and Croats post-treatment. Additionally, the study seeks to examine how the relationships between Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats have evolved since 2004. The study finds that while attitudes towards both Bosniaks and Croats have become significantly warmer and amicable since 2004, there was no significant change in attitude when respondents were tested with the Middle Eastern survey experiment—indicating a resiliency to migration within inter-ethnic relationships not yet witnessed in other countries.

Table of Contents

Table Of Contents

Part 1: Introduction 1

Part 2: Literature Review 5

Section A: The Study Of Ethnic Boundaries And National In-Groups 5

Section B: The Serbian National Identity And Politics Of Immigration 9

Section C: Serbian Responses To Migration Since 2015 13

Subsection I: Attitudes Towards Migrants 13

Subsection II: Attitudes Towards Bosniaks 17

Subsection III: Attitudes Towards Croats 18

Section D: Race, Migration, And Religion In The Serbian Context 19

Part 3: Theoretical Argument 24

Part 4: Predictions And Hypothesis 32

Section A: Feeling Thermometer Predictions 33

Section B: Affective Distance Predictions 35

Part 5: Methods 38

Section A: The Survey Experiment 38

Section B: The Vignettes 39

Section C: Main Dependent And Independent Variables 45

Section D: Further Variables 47

Part 6: Analysis And Results 48

Section A: Descriptive Statistics 48

Section B: Hypothesis Testing 52

Section C: Feeling Thermometer Results 55

Section D: Affective Distance Results 59

Section E: Further Variables 61

Section F: Time-Series Findings 64

Part 7: Conclusion 68

Appendix 78

Bibliography 84


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