top of page

Departmental Seminar - Zero-sum thinking and the cultural threat of Muslim religious rights

26 March 2024 at 3:00:00 am

Cultural threat is one of the main arguments to explain opposition towards immigrants and their cultural practices. We conceptualize cultural threat as zero-sum issue and measure attitudes towards Muslim immigrants’ religious rights that might be perceived as a cultural threat to the majority culture. In two online experiments in Germany we randomly assigned people to situations where Muslim cultural rights replace majority rights (zero-sum) or when they do not replace them (non-zero-sum). We investigate attitudes towards relatively low (halal meals in canteens) and high controversial issues (Muslim religious holiday). We show that the willingness to accommodate Muslims´ cultural rights varies strongly by whether or not they replace a majority cultural right and thus by the intensity of cultural threat. The mechanism, however, is not prejudice reduction. Prejudiced respondents are less strongly affected than unprejudiced respondents. They are not only unwilling to give up rights, they are more opposed to give them up for Muslims than for other reasons.

About the speaker:

Marc Helbling is full professor at the Department of Sociology and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) at the University of Mannheim, a Research Fellow at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center and a member of the German Expert Council on Integration and Migration. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Zurich and was a visiting scholar among others at Princeton University, Harvard University, New York University, the European University Institute (EUI) and the City University of New York (CUNY). He works on immigration and citizenship policies, nationalism, national identities, xenophobia/islamophobia, and right-wing populism. His work has appeared in political science journals (e.g., British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of Political Research), sociology journals (e.g., European Sociological Review, Social Forces) and migration journals (e.g., International Migration Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies).

Departmental Seminar - Zero-sum thinking and the cultural threat of Muslim religious rights

Date: 26 March, 2024

Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM

Venue: CJT-9.29

Speaker: Prof. Marc Helbling


bottom of page