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Revue française de sociologie

2013/1 (Vol. 54)

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Existing analyses of two contextual effects—contact and competition—on native individuals’ tolerance of immigrants or xenophobia are presented. The current understanding is that relatively frequent contact with the immigrant population is accompanied by increased tolerance; conversely, competition has a negative impact on tolerance, with xenophobia likely to increase when natives feel they are in economic competition with the immigrant population. These two effects are empirically tested for France using the French section of the “European Values Survey” and aggregate specifically, data on the départements in which respondents live. Results show that contact and competition do affect tolerance of immigrants in France and that these two effects, both robust and stable, coexist, while the contact effect is sensitive to educational attainment. Interaction between the two effects is also examined: in a context of high unemployment, the positive effect of contact disappears while the negative effect of competition is more acute among people living in départements with a relatively high proportion of immigrants.


  • xenophobia
  • immigration
  • contact
  • competition
  • unemployment


  1. Context effects on xenophobia: a review of the literature
    1. Contact effects
    2. Competition effects
    3. Interactions between the two context effects
  2. The data studied and the methodology used for the empirical analysis
    1. Description of the French section of the “European Values Survey”
    2. Measuring attitudes to immigrants
    3. The context variables
    4. Statistical methodology
  3. Results
    1. Context effects confirmed
    2. Linear and differentiated context effects
    3. Interactive context effects

The English version of this issue is published thanks to the support of the CNRS

To cite this article

Abel François, Raul Magni-Berton, “ Les dimensions contextuelles de la tolérance à l'égard des immigrés en France : effets de contact et de compétition ”, Revue française de sociologie 1/2013 (Vol. 54) , p. 53-82
URL : www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-sociologie-2013-1-page-53.htm.
DOI : 10.3917/rfs.541.0053.

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