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Social class and ethnocentric worldviews

  • Pavasović Trošt, Tamara
  • Marinšek, Denis
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2022
University of Ljubljana
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The link between socioeconomic status (SES) and ethnocentric worldviews is well established in the literature, with countless studies showing the effect of SES on a variety of attitudes, preferences, lifestyles, and behaviors. This literature has been revisited in recent studies on the resurgence of the Far Right, with claims of the rise of “working-class populism,” according to which the working class is more likely to identify with right-wing and populist claims. In the post-Yugoslav context, along with the turbulent socioeconomic and political transformation from socialism, research has also shown that “everyday” people’s understandings of themselves and of others are very much stratified by education, occupational status, urban/rural residence, and region, pointing to a marked effect of SES on civic/ethnic identification, attachment to Europe, ethnic exclusivism, and gender/sexual conservatism. Yet, the nature of the link between socioeconomic status and nationalist attitudes is still insufficiently understood. In this article, we go beyond the traditional focus on cultural explanations, instead relying on cross-sectional quantitative survey data to shed light on important class differences in worldviews of people living in Croatia and Serbia. We find that education remains the most robust predictor of nationalist attitudes, while age, gender, income, and religiosity matter to various degrees. We conclude with a discussion on the continuing importance of SES in understanding ethnocentric worldviews, from Brexit and Trump to the former Yugoslavia.

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