Perception of Refugees in Lithuania
This article offers a partial answer to the question, “why are the vast majority of Lithuanians opposed to refugees immigrating to Lithuania?” I use cultural model theory (CMT) to find the salient characteristics Lithuanians attribute to refugees. Using methods associated with CMT, I shed light on some of the underlying conditions from which a negative perception of refugees emerges. Surprisingly, the negative image of refugees is not just reproduced from social media and news platforms that overwhelmingly depict refugees negatively but stems from Lithuanians’ precarious feelings about their own lives. I thus propose that Lithuanians cultural models of refugees do not simply mirror political or social media portrayals of them as folk devils, but that Lithuanians construct their own cultural models from their life experiences and use these to substantiate their cultural model of refugees.
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