In political and social scientific discourses, the link between right-wing political orientation and anti-immigrant sentiment is often presented as a universal social fact. Based on a systematic examination of the association between left–right political orientation and attitudes towards migrants, the article demonstrates a clear inconsistency in the strength and direction of this presumed association in postsocialist European countries. We provide two analytical explanations for this inconsistency. The first challenges the western-centric idea that people leaning towards the political right tend to hold conservative views that shape their tendency to express anti-immigrant sentiment. The second explanation pertains to the limited relevance of the left–right political orientation scale for postsocialist subjects, making it difficult to attribute anti-immigrant sentiment to specific political orientations. In conclusion, we discuss specific social identities of the holders of hostile attitudes towards outsiders in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe, which western-centric analytical models do not capture.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: this work was supported by Israel Science Foundation [Grant Number 948/20].
© The Author(s) 2023.
- anti-immigrant sentiment
- left–right political orientation
- politics of knowledge