Posted on12. June 2022, 09:19
Free public transport, solidarity, quick integration into the labor market: dealing with Ukrainian refugees is envious. This is often unfounded, says the sociologist.
Refugees in Switzerland face jealousy and resentment with increasing frequency.
Jealousy is caused by social comparisons, says Katja Rost, a sociologist at the University of Zurich.
UZH / John Flury
“If you are doing worse than someone else, it leads to frustration, resentment and jealousy. However, this is often unfounded, as those affected have a limited picture of the situation and refuse to tell the whole truth, ”says Rost.
Ukrainian refugees experience great solidarity in Switzerland. For a long time, they have been able to use public transport free of charge, and thanks to the protection status of the S, it is aimed at quick integration into the labor market. This does not suit everyone: some have an aversion to war refugees. There are posts on social media complaining that people would like to afford a GA travel card themselves or that they have been unemployed for years despite their best efforts.
In a 20-minute tiktok about Anya who found an internship 20 minutes after escaping Kiev, many users are jealous in the comments. One commentator writes: “Colleague, I was registered with the RAV for six months and did not receive an interview. Then suddenly the war breaks out and Zack has an internship. »
Where does the jealousy of the Ukrainians come from?
According to sociologist Katja Rost, jealousy is always a consequence of social comparisons. “If you are doing worse than someone else, it leads to frustration, resentment and jealousy. However, this is often unfounded, as those affected have a limited picture of the situation and refuse to tell the whole truth, ”says Rost. For example, commentators know nothing about a refugee’s level of education, which would make them more qualified for the position than Swiss nationals. “These victims are often looking for someone to blame for their own failures – in this case, refugees.”
According to Rost, there are also prejudices and a generally negative attitude towards refugees. “The narrative that refugees take jobs from local people is common in some parts of society. Great solidarity and support for Ukrainians additionally strengthens this. That is why many residents feel that they are being treated unequally. “
How does jealousy affect society?
“Unfortunately, it’s normal for a society to be characterized by jealousy,” says Rost. This leaves traces in, for example, aggressive behavior. “At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone. Therefore, those affected by envy should try to compare themselves socially in another area where they are doing better. »But it is difficult, especially when it comes to existential issues such as work. “Only rarely does jealousy also have a positive effect, for example increasing the motivation to achieve something specific,” says the sociologist.
According to the federal anti-racism agency, discrimination and racism are part of everyday life for refugees. “S status gives many a feeling that Ukrainian refugees are given preferential treatment, for example in terms of access to work,” says Marianne Helfer. “When people see privileges at risk, such as easy access to the labor market, conflicts or racist statements can arise.” The head of the Office for Combating Racism is unable to express in numbers how much the Ukrainian refugees are affected by discrimination. But there are many positive signs. “The fact is: Solidarity is still very high.”
“Fear of losing a job strengthens”
Aid to refugees and the Foundation against Racism (GRA) there are no known cases of discrimination against Ukrainian refugees. Nevertheless, it is unfortunately a well-known phenomenon that a small part of the public think that refugees are better off, says Pascal Pernet, president of GRA. “In addition, there is the current economic uncertainty. This strengthens the perception that refugees are taking away the local job. ” A look at the unemployment rate, however, shows that this argument is unfounded: “Ultimately, it is easier to make a minority scapegoat. Unfortunately, history has proven time and time again. “
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