Is Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Owned by the Political Right?

Inna Leykin*, Anastasia Gorodzeisky

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In political and social scientific discourses, the link between right-wing political orientation and anti-immigrant sentiment is often presented as a universal social fact. Based on a systematic examination of the association between left–right political orientation and attitudes towards migrants, the article demonstrates a clear inconsistency in the strength and direction of this presumed association in postsocialist European countries. We provide two analytical explanations for this inconsistency. The first challenges the western-centric idea that people leaning towards the political right tend to hold conservative views that shape their tendency to express anti-immigrant sentiment. The second explanation pertains to the limited relevance of the left–right political orientation scale for postsocialist subjects, making it difficult to attribute anti-immigrant sentiment to specific political orientations. In conclusion, we discuss specific social identities of the holders of hostile attitudes towards outsiders in postsocialist Central and Eastern Europe, which western-centric analytical models do not capture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024


FundersFunder number
Nissim Mizrachi
Israel Science Foundation948/20


    • Europe
    • anti-immigrant sentiment
    • left–right political orientation
    • migration
    • politics of knowledge
    • postsocialism


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