Measuring Public Attitudes Towards Immigration: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Social Survey Questions: Measuring Public Attitudes

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Abstract

Public attitudes towards immigration and immigrants, captured through social surveys, are widely reported in the media and used to inform political decision-making. However, it is important to consider whether public attitudes are being accurately measured. This article uses critical discourse analysis and critical race and post-colonial theories to examine questions in leading social surveys. The article also draws on interviews with survey managers and methodologists. In many high-quality surveys a ‘white’ identity is often framed as the norm alongside negative narratives of identity and difference. For example, in one survey question attitudes towards immigrants are asked about alongside attitudes towards alcohol and drug use. The objectivity of the framing and language of many survey questions needs to be reviewed. In the context of evidence of increased levels of racial discrimination, a new discourse is required to more objectively measure and understand public attitudes towards immigration and immigrants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Attitudes, Identity, Immigration, Race, Survey Questions

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