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6. Neighbours: Determinants of Whom Europeans Want to Keep at a Distance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses exclusively on the individual and contextual determinants associated with social distance regarding neighbours with different characteristics in European societies. Social distance refers to the degrees and grades of understanding and feeling that persons experience regarding each other. It explains the nature of a great deal of their interaction. Social relations are frequently and inevitably correlated with spatial relations, and the measure developed by Bogardus reflects precisely this relation between space and intimacy. Social distance measures the disposition for accepting the other in one's immediate environment. Society is moving towards a greater degree of heterogeneity and diversity, and European societies, in particular, are living this phenomenon with unprecedented intensity. The effects of migration, cultural and religious diversity, and conflicting identities tend to generate situations and scenarios in which citizens need to locate and re-locate themselves in terms of their identities.

Keywords: contextual determinant; European societies; individual determinant; social distance



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