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Xenophobia and religious pluralism: An empirical study among youth in Germany

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Chapter Summary

In the public discourse the experience of cultural, ethnic and religious pluralism is often seen as reason for xenophobic attitudes and behaviour. This chapter analyses theoretical concepts of xenophobia and draws a picture of current German society. It describes the social context of an empirical inquiry with 1923 young people of 16 to17 years of age, and analyses their attitudes towards xenophobia and religious pluralism. Background characteristics studied include gender, personality, church membership, religious self-perception and attitude towards inter-religious relationships. The analysis shows that young Germans are not afraid of foreigners and appreciate the cultural and religious plurality of German society. The female youngster without a mono-religious point of view shows these attitudes most strongly. A comparison of the German sample with those from Poland, Israel and Sweden displays the importance of national background in this context.

Keywords: German youth; Israel; Poland; religious pluralism; socialisation; Sweden; xenophobic attitudes



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