Attitudes towards foreigners in South Africa : a longitudinal study

Schippers, Caitlin Sian (2015-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Topics surrounding migration and the presence of foreigners in South Africa are rapidly gaining importance in light of the occurrences and developments in the country, such as the increasing number of foreigners coming to South Africa, the recent amendments to the immigration policy and more importantly, the rise of anti-immigrant sentiments witnessed across the country, as seen in 2008. While studies have been conducted with the aim of assessing attitudes toward immigrants and migration, longitudinal studies of this nature are rare. This study addresses the identified gap by assessing attitudes towards foreigners in South Africa between 1996 and 2013. This descriptive longitudinal study uses four waves of World Value Survey data in order to measure the trends in four dimensions of attitudes towards foreigners: (1) social tolerance; (2) interpersonal trust; (3) employment preference; and (4) attitudes toward migration. Adding to the descriptive nature of the study, seven independent variables are included to further understand the trends in the four dimensions. These variables include gender, race, employment status, education, perceived social class, generalised trust and financial satisfaction. Five conclusions are drawn from the study, four regarding the four dimensions measured and the other pertaining to the general trends in the data: (1) South Africans are becoming more intolerant of foreigners. (2) There are growing levels of distrust, not only of foreign workers/immigrants but also of people of another nationality. (3) South Africans are moving away from the idea that employment priority or preference is to be awarded to South African citizens over foreigners as more individuals are becoming either neutral or dismissive about the awarding of preference. (4) More South Africans are fostering positive attitudes towards migration although the greatest portion of respondents agree that foreigners are to be allowed into South Africa on the condition that certain criteria are met. (5) The biggest changes in the data are seen between 2006 and 2013. These changes can be linked to the outcomes of the global economic downturn in 2008 and the rise of xenophobic sentiments and violence towards foreigners in the same period.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Onderwerpe wat oor migrasie en die aanwesigheid van buitelanders in Suid-Afrika handel, is besig om in belangrikheid toe te neem. Veral as dit gesien word teen ontwikkelinge soos byvoorbeeld die groeiende aantal buitelanders wat na Suid-Afrika kom, die onlangse aanpassings in die immigrasiebeleid, en nog meer belangrik, die groei in anti-immigrante sentimente wat dwarsoor die land in 2008 te sien was. Terwyl daar heelwat studies is wat ten doel het om houdings teenoor immigrante en migrasie te ontleed, is tydsduurstudies oor hierdie onderwerp baie skaars. Hierdie studie be-oog dus om hierdie gaping te vul deur die houdings teenoor buitelanders in Suid-Afrika gedurende die periode 1996 tot 2013 te bespreek. Die tydsduur studie is beskrywende van aard. Dit gebruik data afkomstig van die World Values Survey om die neigings in vier dimensies van houdings teenoor buitelanders te meet, te wete: (1) sosiale toleransie; (2) interpersoonlike vertroue; (3) werk voorkeur; en, laastens (4) houdings tov migrasie. Bydraend tot die beskrywende aard van die studie, word sewe onafhanklike veranderlikes gebruik om ‘n beter begrip van die neigings in die vier dimensies te kry. Hierdie veranderlikes sluit in: geslag, ras, werkstatus, onderwysvlak, waargenome sosiale klas, algemene vertroue; en, finansiële tevredenheid. Vyf belangrike gevolgtrekkings word in die studie gemaak – vier met betrekking tot die vier dimensies wat gemeet is en die ander met betrekking tot die algemene neigings in die data. Dit is naamlik: (1) Suid-Afrikaners word toenemend meer intolerant teenoor buitelanders; (2) Daar is ‘n groeiende vlak van wantroue, nie net tov buitelandse werkers/immigrante nie, maar ook teenoor mense van ander nasionaliteite; (3) Suid-Afrikaners beweeg weg van die idee dat werksgeleenthede alleen aan hulle toegeken moet word, want hulle word meer neutraal of verwerp selfs die gedagte dat voorkeur aan Suid-Afrikaners gegee moet word; (4) Meer Suid-Afrikaners het ‘n positiewe houding tov migrasie alhoewel die meerderheid respondente verwag dat hulle binnegelaat moet word op streng voorwaardes; en, (5) Die belangrikste veranderinge in die data kom in die periode 2006 tot 2013 voor. Dit kan waarskynlik toegeskryf word aan die omvang van die wêreldwye ekonomiese resessie in 2008 en die groei van xenofobiese sentimente en geweld teenoor vreemdelinge in dieselfde periode.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97828
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