Skip to main content

Photo: “20151030 Syrians and Iraq refugees arrive at Skala Sykamias Lesvos Greece 2“, by Ggia licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. Hue modified from the original

Vaughan, Kenneth R. “Anti-Immigrant Sentiment and Opposition to Democracy in Europe.” Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies (2020): 1-17.


Years of declining support for democracy and the election of leaders with authoritarian characteristics in liberal-democracies continues to trouble scholars. Current narratives may understate the importance of nativist beliefs in these developments by treating this as a byproduct of broader political movements. I contribute to the understanding of nativism’s role in democratic beliefs by arguing for isolating nativism from broader political movements when studying its consequences. Even when controlling for populism, far-right political affiliation, and important national-level variables, anti-immigrant sentiment is significantly associated with increased illiberal-democratic political preferences and decreased evaluations of the importance of living in a democracy.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.