Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Justine Dandy

Abstract

The ability of immigrants to integrate into a new society is dependent on a number of factors including the strength of an immigrant's ethnic identity, willingness of the immigrant to accept the beliefs, values, and cultural practices of the host society, and attitudes of members of the host society toward immigrants. This paper reviews research on attitudes toward immigration, in relation to theoretical approaches including Berry's (2003) model of acculturation expectations. Factors discussed throughout this review as contributing to host community acceptance of immigrants include cultural awareness and understanding, preconceived misconceptions and stereotypes, and perceptions of threat to resources and quality of life. Existing research literature has depicted the existence of an ethnic hierarchy, which pm1rays a preference by host community members for particular immigrant groups over others. The presence of this hierarchy has been attributed to an in group preference for the integration of immigrant groups considered to be more culturally similar to the host community. It is concluded that future research should investigate ways of improving attitudes and subsequent relationships between host community members and immigrants in order to promote policies and practices that strive to establish multicultural societies. The ability of immigrants to successfully integrate into a new society is largely dependent on host community acceptance of immigrants, which may be influenced by cultural awareness and understanding, preconceived misconceptions and stereotypes, and perceptions of threat to resources and quality of life. With a sample of 125 undergraduate university students, the present study used the Acculturation Expectation Measurement Scale (AEMS; Berry & Kalin, 1995) to examine Anglo-Australians' acculturation expectations of British and Chinese immigrant groups. It was hypothesised that Anglo-Australians' would elicit more positive, integrationist attitudes toward the culturally similar British immigrant group. Findings of the present study did not replicate the findings of Canadian research studies, perhaps due to differences in government policy, public opinion, and societal dynamics. These research findings have applied implications to the improvement of attitudes and subsequent relationships between host community members and immigrants, in order to promote policies and practices that strive to establish multicultural societies.

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