The general framework of the proposed research challenges the traditional approaches to popular attitudes toward labor immigrants and asylum seekers. Previous scholarship has highlighted either economic competition between immigrants and the host society or perceptions of symbolic threats posed by immigrants. The proposed research, in contrast, will be the first to investigate how attitudes toward foreigners are linked to the way several dimensions of nationalism configure the national self-understanding of individuals. These dimensions include the ways individuals define the criteria for membership in their nation, their beliefs about the core values of the nation, their identification with specific national institutions, and the role they believe their nation-state should play in relationship to other nation-states. To test this theoretically groundbreaking framework, the proposed research has three specific objectives: (1) to develop an empirically robust typology of national self-understanding of resident citizens of Israel, (2) to examine the relationship of national self-understanding with core demographic characteristics of individuals, and (3) to investigate how national self-understanding affects individuals' attitudes toward labor immigrants and asylum seekers. In addition to theoretical innovation, this proposal also introduces a novel multistage research design that opens with in-depth interviews, continues with survey data collection, and ends with follow-up interviews with survey takers. Using this multistage design, the proposed research will be the first of its kind to develop a purely inductive typology of popular nationalism in a European country, and to test how the national self-understanding of individuals affects their attitudes toward immigrants and preferences regarding the state’s immigration policy.
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