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Religion, securitization and anti-immigration attitudes : the case of Greece

Karyotis, G. and Patrikios, S. (2010) Religion, securitization and anti-immigration attitudes : the case of Greece. Journal of Peace Research, 47 (1). pp. 43-57. ISSN 0022-3433

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Abstract

This article revisits securitization theory of the Copenhagen School by addressing an empirical overemphasis on political actors and offering a quantitative extension to typically qualitative assessments of the theory. Using Greece as a case study, it explores the dynamics of competition and the relative discursive power of two actors, political and religious elites, regarding migration. After first documenting a divergence in the two actors' rhetoric through discourse analysis, it proceeds to measure the relative impact of their discourses on public immigration attitudes, employing structural equation modelling of European Social Survey data. Findings demonstrate that exposure to the securitizing religious discourse through church attendance immunizes citizens from the softening effect of the political message. This, in turn, explains the survival of the security frame on migration in Greece, even as political elites begin to move towards the desecuritized pole of the continuum. Crucially, the analysis of this case suggests that a methodological synthesis of qualitative and quantitative research methods to study securitization is possible despite limitations. The authors call for greater efforts to combine the two methods which would allow for a better understanding of securitization and desecuritization processes.