Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Sociology (Criminology Option)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College

Department of Sociology

Committee Chair

Dusten Hollist

Commitee Members

Dusten Hollist, Daisy Rooks, Wade Davies


Xenophobia, Immigrants, Refugees, Perceptions, Montana, American Security Rally


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


The goal of this research was to investigate immigration perceptions among participants in the American Security Rally of Montana using in-depth interviews and participant observation qualitative techniques. The thesis was guided by the following questions. What are the perceptions of participants among the American Security Rally of Montana with respect to immigration, where do they come from and why are they are created? The main theme highlighted by participants was one of xenophobia. This xenophobic rhetoric was predominantly directed towards potential Syrian refugee migrants to Montana but also encompassed a perspective pertaining to Hispanic/Latino undocumented migrants. Theodore Adorno’s notion of the “authoritarian personality” and his ideas on the “culture industry” are applied along with social identity theory to explain where the anti-immigrant rhetoric highlighted throughout the findings of the current study come from. This study is important because it addresses one of the most controversial contemporary topics in American culture. It represents a social issue that is timely and applicable on the local, national, and international levels. The study is unique because it addresses anti-immigrant beliefs in a rural northwestern state with one of the least diverse, mostly white, populations in the United States (Schmalzbauer 2014). Findings are important because they highlight a xenophobic narrative from the past that has persisted from the time Theodore Adorno started his work in the early 1900’s (Hafez 2015: 24; Ekman 2015; Bulliet 2003).

Included in

Sociology Commons



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