Mental representations as a factor of the migration process

Mental representations as a factor of the migration process

Nesterova A.A.

Dr. Sci. (Psy.), Professor, Social Psychology Department, Moscow State Regional University, Moscow, Russia

Suslova T.F.

Cand. Sci. (Psy.), Associate Professor, Social Work Department, Moscow State Regional University, Moscow, Russia

ID of the Article: 6855

For citation:

Nesterova A.A., Suslova T.F. Mental representations as a factor of the migration process. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2017. No 9. P. 99-107


The article deals with mental representations of migrant workers from Central Asia, Ukraine and Moldova, as well as the indigenous population (based on the sample of residents of the Moscow region). The mental representations were identified in the survey in 2015–2016 using the method of Transsymbolic analysis (TSA). The respondents were interviewed on the topic of such concepts as “Russia”, “motherland”, “migrant” and “migration”. The results made it possible to identify subjective and psychological factors preventing the successful migration process, making it difficult for the “newcomers” to adapt to new socio-cultural conditions on the one hand, as well as causing intolerant attitudes to migrants among the “locals” on the other. It is revealed that migrants experience psychological difficulties with the adoption of a new status of migrant for them, they are sensitive to the very situation of migration. They have unreasonable expectations from Russia. Their situation is perceived as humiliating. This further complicates their adaptation and integration into the host community. Local residents are not ready to meet with the bearers of a different culture. They treat the visitors with guarded and detached. They are also characterized by the stereotyping of thinking about migrants. They do not perceive migrants as equal to themselves, they consider them to be people of lower status. This indicates the prevalence of intra-group favoritism and inter-group discrimination among them. Trying to understand the behavior of migrants, indigenous people often attribute virtues to themselves, and the poor relate to the personal characteristics of migrants. All this complicates the formation of tolerant, tolerant attitude of Muscovites to “newcomers” and prevents the formation of a culture of inclusion.

mental representations; social representations; migration process; labor migrants; indigenous population; Muscovites; transsymbolic analysis (TSA)


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