Understanding how Common Ingroup Identity Undermines Collective Action Among Disadvantaged-Group Members

Past research has consistently demonstrated that creating a sense of a common ingroup identity can be beneficial for reducing intergroup tensions and creating intergroup harmony. At the same time, however, creating a strong sense of a common ingroup identity has elements that may undermine disadvantaged-group members’ motivation for collective action toward social change. In the present paper, we report two experiments that investigated how, compared to salient separate ethnic/racial identities, increasing the salience of a common US identity among Blacks and Latinos results in lower collective action intentions. These effects were mediated by a reduction in group-based anger and group- efficacy beliefs, and, in Experiment 2, reduced recognition of group-based inequality in society as well. Increasing salience of common ingroup and separate group identities simultaneously (a dual identity), however, did not decrease collective action intentions. These results suggest that not recategorization in itself, but an exclusive focus on common ingroup identity undermines motivation for social change.

Ufkes, E. G., Calcagno, J., Glasford, D. E., & Dovidio, J. F. (2016). Understanding how common ingroup identity undermines collective action among disadvantaged-group members. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 63, 26–35. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2015.11.006

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