Abstract

The author analyzes the results of several focus group interviews conducted in the framework of the research exploring factors of the mutual adaptation of migrants and host population. The article focuses on moral foundations of the perception of migration and migrants by the host population of Moscow. A theoretical framework is defined by the theory of moral foundations and the theory of moral motives. Respondents demonstrated active emotional rejection of migration in Moscow, articulating many popular “anti-Caucasians” themes. The prevalence in the estimates of “moral” emotions allows the author to address the moral components in the host population’s representations of migration and migrants. The moral foundation “ingroup loyalty” is actualized with the perceived threat from migrants. The cultural symbols and practices receiving the status of the sacred are considered by the representatives of the host population as markers of belonging to the in-group. The use of the concept of “home” reinforces the idea of the boundaries between “insiders” — “indigenous” and “outsiders” — “newcomers” and becomes the basis of a hierarchical order: inequality between “host” and “guest” is clearly understood and articulated by participants of the focus groups. The results of the analysis allow to conclude that the moral foundations of «loyalty/betrayal», «authority/subversion» and «sanctity/ degradation» are supported by avoidance motivation and become the basis of morality claims for the social order based on homogeneous group composition and impermeability of group boundaries. Thus, morality focused on the group safety becomes the basis of discriminatory discourse and related practices and contributes to the expansion of social support of stricter immigration policy.

Keywords: migration, inter-group perceptions, morality, social order, discrimination