ABSTRACT

This chapter argues that material struggles over status can cause or amplify prejudices: the proposition of "relative deprivation" states that the threat of losing one's own social status, the feeling of being left out and disadvantaged, leads to a higher tendency of negative stereotyping. The connection between relative deprivation and the devaluation of minorities is explained by the experience or the fear of social decline, which restricts the possibilities of social participation and subsequently the integration potential of modern societies. It has been shown for Austria that social prejudices against marginalised social groups are widespread; hostile attitudes towards asylum seekers and socially weak people are omnipresent. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) warns in its 2011 published Annual Report of an alarming trend towards more prejudices and discriminations against minorities in Europe. In some cases, the Austrian data exceed the average of many other European Union (EU) countries; it raises concerns regarding the social cohesion of the country.