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Living in a foreign country : The meaning of place of origin and gender for risk perceptions, experiences, and behaviors

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Author list: Lidén, Gustav
Publication year: 2019
ISSN: 1366-9877

Abstract
Previous research has convincingly proven that perceptions, experience, and exposure to risks vary among certain groups in society. By drawing from a unique combination of Swedish survey data and interviews, this study aims to investigate perceptions and experiences of risks as well as in relation to behavior by analyzing the cleavages related to interactions between place of origin and gender. Theoretically, we see individual risk perception as part of situated hierarchical power relations where an individual’s position (which is an intersection of, for example, gender, race, age, and place of origin) structures action and thought. Findings verify that foreign-born men and women perceive risks to a greater extent than those born in Sweden. However, no direct pattern of ethnicity is apparent in exposure to risks, but since predictors measuring experience of discrimination are shown to be significant, the effect can be mediated by such circumstances. In terms of how risks have affected behavior, women, irrespective of their ethnicity, are affected. Exposure to tragic experiences among those who are foreign born can pose risks that are perceived to a greater extent. Furthermore, more vulnerable material conditions can also affect how risks are perceived, and uncertainty due to a lack of resources and as an inherent ingredient of living in a foreign country seem to enhance perceptions of risk and feelings of unsafety. Last, the sense of discrimination appears to influence exposure to certain risks, which might capture an interaction between racism and violence.


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