Social Psychology: Attitudes and Attitude Changes (alternatively: Prejudice and Discrimination, both topics would be fine – maybe something on xenophobia)
Social psychology: xenophobia
What is the role of increased unemployment rates and security issues in South African xenophobic violence?
Why xenophobic violence victims were only foreigners from African descent despite having other foreign races like Asians and Arabs?
How did the increased rates of unemployment and insecurity issues lead to xenophobic violence in South Africa?
Rationale for the Proposed Research:
The research study is significant since South Africa is the nation that hosts the global conference that is against xenophobia and the resultant violence, racial discrimination, and racism. Unfortunately, it is the country that has had a series of xenophobic violence across its towns. South Africa is a nation in the South of the African continent; the neighboring countries include Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Mozambique. The ethnic communities in South Africa include the black’s majority, over 75%, whites about 8%, the Asians 2.5%, and the rest are from the neighboring African nations as shown in (Steinberg, 2008). The xenophobic violence was directed against foreigners in South Africa from neighboring countries like Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The South African xenophobia perpetrators, targeted only foreigners of African descent and not any other (Getty, 2015). The main reason was the perception that they took over their jobs and were the reasons for the rampant insecurity in their country. The research is significant since it will help to substantiate the reason, considering the xenophobia was blamed on leaders and the media.
Justification (theoretical nature)
Social identity theory was established by Tajfel in 1979. He proposed that the social groups that people belong were a vital source of confidence and pride. He suggested that the social groups we belong to provides us with identity and creates a sense of belonging (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). He suggested that for people to improve their images, they need to enhance the status of the social group they belong. When the image of the group looks good, they look good too and becomes a sense of pride to identify with. In our context, the prejudices that occurred in South Africa fueled by xenophobic feeling by South Africans was a result of the sense that their group as South Africans had been intimidated by African immigrants. They united as a group and launched a war against them to enhance their images and to get their jobs and security since they believed it was their country, and so they belong to them and not to share with intruders. This theory states that people from individual groups categorizes the world into “them and us” and us representing the superior group. Tajfel prosed that those in the group would always try to find negative aspects from those outside the group and hence a conflict. In one of his postulates boys were placed in different groups and given points to share among all groups (Tajfel & Turner, 1979). It was noted that the boys allocated more points to the groups they belonged than in other groups that they considered rivals.
Hypothesis or hypotheses,
Unemployment among South Africans and security issues are the source of xenophobic violence in South Africa.
Aristotle stated that human being was social in nature that promoted their living together. Hegel said that the society was interconnected which is a necessity for the development of social mind, which laid the foundation for the idea of a group thinking and formed the basis of the studies of social psychology (McLeod, 2007). All port recognized that social behaviors resulted from interactions among people in the society and this contributed to their overall behavior. This social psychological basis can be used to study the xenophobic prejudices that occurred in South Africa.
Zwelinzima Vavi, an ex-official member of the South African Congress in 2008, said that the xenophobic violence aimed particular foreigners of African descent since they were blamed for the social and economic hardships (Steinberg, 2008). The 2008 xenophobic attacks are considered to be the worst; other theories claim that King Good luck of the Zulu claimed that foreigners should pack and go, and his comments were later by echoed the president son (Edward), leading to a bloody attack on foreigners leaving 60 of them dead.
Proposed Research Methodology:
The research study utilized 100 participants from the main city (Durban), where most of the clashes had occurred. 50 of them were South African citizens while 50 were from the other African foreign nations living in South Africa. Out of the 50 local 48 accepted to participate in the program under the methodology. 20 were women age 17 to 40 year, and 28 were men age 15 to 50 year. Of the 50 foreigners, 40 accepted to participate in the program. Ten Zimbabwean, seven Lesotho’s, 13 Namibians, and 10 Mozambique. Only 9 were women foreigner with five women from Zimbabwe and four women from Mozambique. 90% of the foreigners were business persons while 10% were economic immigrants and were employed by various departments of the government. None of them was a student at any local university.
Materials and Apparatus
The interview questions and questions for questionnaires will be used in the collection of data; there will be the use of verbal interviews and tape recorders will be required. The questions will be prepared by the use of Microsoft Office, any version from 2007 will be resourceful. Excel spreadsheets and SPSS version 21 were used to analyze collected data
The subjects were informed that their personal details were confidential, and it was not a necessity for personal details to be delivered only on a good will to enhance the trust. They will be issued with questionnaires and either a verbal or written interviews. Those respondents seeming to be out of time will be approached with oral interviews and the response recorded on a tape recorder. Participants will be categorized either as locals or foreigners. In the foreigners section, there would be subcategories to indicate the different origin of the foreigners. Under the same section, there would be categories for reasons why the immigrants left their home country. This will help substantiate the claim that they came to compete for the South African job market. Questionnaires will ask questions like, why they fought only African immigrants, why they thought they were the ones who caused their lack of employment and others. Questionnaires are useful since they get the one on one view from respondent and can be changed anytime to suit a specific need.
Female respondent since are a few will be given their separate category, and their response will be recorded separately from those of male although they will be similarly classified according to the country of their origin and the reason for their presence in South Africa.
Once the information was collected via the various tools and apparatus, it was fed into Microsoft Excel and analyzed. Alternatively it was entered into and SPSS software version 21 to generate some analyzed information.
Getty, (2015, May 18). South African xenophobia: Why is there so much hatred of foreigners? Retrieved November 24, 2015, from http://www.theweek.co.uk/63378/south-african-xenophobia-why-is-there-so-much-hatred-of-foreigners
McLeod, S. (2007). Social Psychology | Simply Psychology. Retrieved November 25, 2015, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/social-psychology.html
Steinberg, J. (2008). South Africa’s xenophobic eruption. Institute for Security Studies Papers, (169), 15-p.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict.The social psychology of intergroup relations, 33(47), 74.