Date Thesis Awarded

5-2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Government

Advisor

Jaime Settle

Committee Members

Clayton Clemens

Jennifer Gully

Abstract

In light of the ongoing refugee crisis, Germany has proven itself as a humanitarian leader. The country has accepted more refugees than any other country in the European Union and has some of the most liberal policies in regards to refugee admittance. Some speculate that Germany’s policies and attitudes stem from a desire to break from stereotypes that remain from World War II and the Holocaust. At the same time, Germany has also experienced a rise in far-right populist attitudes, evident through the success of the AfD party in the 2017 parliamentary election. This majority of the AfD’s base is composed of younger individuals, those under 40. These nationalist, anti-immigrant ideas contradict the image Germany has been struggling to build for itself since the end of World War II. Older individuals are more familiar with this struggle. They experience collective guilt more intensely, as they lived through much of Germany’s turbulent history. This study analyzes the 2016 Pew Global Attitudes Dataset to explore whether older individuals in Germany will perceive refugees in their country more positively when compared to other countries. I hypothesize that older German individuals will have more positive perception scores than older individuals in other countries and that the variable of age in Germany will not follow the trends outlined in the literature as strongly. Results suggest that overall trends in Germany do not necessarily break from the trends present in other European countries, but that age is less significant of an indicator of perception when compared to other demographic variables and other countries.

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