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Evaluating the Character of People Who Insult the Nation: Implications for Immigrant Integration

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We examine immigrant integration by analyzing how natives evaluate immigrants' character. Most literature examines how natives distinguish between immigrants with different levels of assimilation, which is best suited to identifying integration boundaries between different types of immigrants. We shift the analysis and examine the boundary between immigrants and natives, which measures integration by the extent to which immigrant status is relevant for character evaluations. We compare how natives respond to national insults that come from immigrants as opposed to natives. We focus on insulting the nation because it highlights the salience of national identity and clarifies the importance of group boundaries. We measure responses to national insults with vignette experiments from three original surveys in the United States. Our results are consistent with situationist theories of interpersonal interactions because they suggest that character evaluations are more dependent on the situational distinction between people who do and do not insult the nation than the demographic distinction between whether the insult comes from a native or immigrant. These findings have multiple implications for our understanding of national identity, immigrant integration, and immigrant‐native boundaries.
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Keywords: USA; assimilation; boundaries; immigrant integration; national identity; national insults; situationist

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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