Restrictive borders and rights: attitudes of the Danish public to asylum seekers

Adi Hercowitz-Amir, Rebeca Raijman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Social mechanisms explaining Danes’ attitudes to asylum seekers were analysed on two main dimensions: border control and rights allocation, in a national survey of 500 adult respondents in September 2013. Data show that the respondents supported exclusionary practices against asylum seekers much more than exclusion from rights. Three main mechanisms were simultaneously at play in both exclusionary dimensions: perceptions of threat, social distance (prejudice), and perceiving asylum seekers as not “genuine refugees”. Identifying asylum seekers’ as a security and socio-economic threat, as persons not in “real” fear of persecution, together with prejudicial attitudes to them had a boosting effect on excluding asylum seekers from the Danish collective in terms of entry and rights. Findings are discussed in light of existing theories on exclusionary attitudes to asylum seekers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-806
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Attitudes
  • Denmark
  • asylum seekers
  • bogus refugees
  • perceptions of threat
  • prejudice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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