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‘Would it not be better to get someone out workin?’: ‘Safe prejudice’ against Polish workers


European Journal of Social Psychology

Published online on


--- - |2 Abstract One recurring criticism of immigrant groups is their alleged failure to be employed and contribute to the host society. Here we examine how speakers mobilise a criticism that has attracted less research attention: that through their economic activity immigrant groups usurp others’ employment entitlements. Discourse analysis of data from seven focus group discussions about pre‐Brexit Polish immigration into the UK, involving 31 UK nationals, shows that participants accomplish exclusionary outcomes in two divergent ways. The first attributes qualities to Polish workers but also makes explicit the consequences of these attributions for UK nationals, rendering speakers’ investment in such claims visible. The second relies on the production of category pairs, within which claims can be made for the category that excludes Polish workers. This use of categories comprises ‘safe prejudice’, a form of prejudice not previously identified but which is less open to challenge than other forms of prejudiced talk. - European Journal of Social Psychology, EarlyView.