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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

EASP Seedcorn Grant Report by Nader Hakim and Team

20.02.2020, by Tina Keil in grant report

Project: Multiple Identities in Context: A study of associations between Muslim minorities’ ethnic, religious and national identity representation, national context and individual outcomes.

The Research Team
The Research Team

Identity is a recurring theme in the explanations for recent sociopolitical trends in Western Europe and the US. What does the proposed Muslim ban teach us about deciding who belongs in the U.S? Does Brexit show us something about the nostalgia for a tighter definition of Britishness? And will the construction of German national identity shift with the resettlement of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees? While much research has devoted attention to perceptions among majority members, we argue that at least part of the answer to each of these questions lies in examining the experience of the minority group members. That is, from a social identity perspective, we can learn a great deal about national identity in these various setting by studying its construction among the integrating minority, whose identity is shaping and being shaped by the broader contexts. Further, we propose that such investigations are most interesting when national, ethnic, and religious identities are not understood separately but rather in tandem.

Last summer’s EASP summer school in Zurich convened a timely working group on migration and integration. Co-facilitated by Carolin Hagelskamp and Rupert Brown, graduate students from almost a dozen countries wrestled with understanding the minority group’s construction of their multiple identities. This effort emerged from rich discussions on how much of the literature on multiple identities had yet to integrate the more traditional investigations of the degree to which national or ethnic or religious identities overlap with the less well-studied investigation of minority group members’ subjective construction of identity.

Our proposed research eventually articulated three main goals. First, we sought to integrate the traditional categorization measures with less commonly used measures of identity construction among minority group members. Second, whereas much of the literature has focused on either the path from context to identity construction or from identity construction to individual and intergroup outcomes, we sought to trace the full sequence. Accordingly, and third, we would conduct this context-sensitive but identical research in multiple settings to incorporate variability in social context and thus examine how minorities develop a matrix of national/ethnic/religious identities in response to contextual factors like income inequality and multicultural climate.

The EASP Seedcorn grant facilitated the development of materials translated into multiple languages and the recruitment of minority samples in multiple contexts, using a mix of online and community samples. We so far have collected and began to analyze data among British South Asian Muslims and German Turkish Muslims. Consistent with the hypotheses, national intercultural climate was related to identity integration and measures of well-being and intergroup attitudes. More specifically, in the UK sample, national intercultural climate (e.g., measured by perceived discrimination against people of participants’ religious and ethnic groups) predicted a lower identity integration which in turn predicted lower well-being and more negative attitudes towards other social groups. In the German sample we also found that the degree of identity integration was related to well-being and intergroup attitudes.

In further analyses, we will integrate new and more complex measures of social identity structure and social identity inclusiveness to these models. We are also expanding our data collection and analysis to more countries.

Nihan Albayrak (London School of Economics & Political Science, UK)
Anna Lisa Aydin (Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany)
Göksu Cagil Celikkol (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Nadya Gharaei (University of Leuven, Belgium)
Nader Hakim (Furman University, USA)
Nadine Knab (University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany)
Medhi Marot (Université Clermont Auvergne, France)
Lana Pehar (University of Zagreb, Croatia)
Elaine Smith (University of Limerick, Ireland)
Marieke Vermue (Trainee Business Analytics & Data Science, NL)
Loren Willis (Australian National University, Australia)
Tibor Zingora (Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic).
Carolin Hagelskamp (Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany)
Rupert Brown (Emeritus, Sussex University, UK)