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The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship$
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Eugene Borgida, Christopher M Federico, and John L Sullivan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335453

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335453.001.0001

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Social Identity and Citizenship in a Pluralistic Society

Social Identity and Citizenship in a Pluralistic Society

(p.153) Chapter 7 Social Identity and Citizenship in a Pluralistic Society
The Political Psychology of Democratic Citizenship

Marilynn B. Brewer

Oxford University Press

A large body of research has demonstrated the centrality of group identification to political behaviors and attitudes. This chapter examines the interrelationships among multiple overlapping group memberships, and the consequences of these dynamics for our understanding of citizenship in pluralistic democratic states. Social identity is critical to understanding citizenship and national attachment, with situational and motivational factors functioning to make these identities salient. This implies that national identity can come into conflict with competing subnational identities when role requirements between the two groups are incompatible, and when the two groups have distinct and incompatible group prototypes. The chapter explores the dynamics of the cross-cutting group identities in a pluralist democracy, and concludes that cross-cutting category structure and multiple social identities with awareness of ingroup diversity provide an effective formula for reducing intergroup prejudice and for promoting cultural pluralism.

Keywords:   social identity, national identification, cross-cutting identities, optimal distinctiveness theory, social identity complexity

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