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Title: Patterns of ingroup identification and outgroup attitudes on the Italo-Slovene borderland
Other Titles: Patterns of Ingroup Identification and Outgroup Attitudes on the Italo-Slovene Borderland
Authors: Kosic, Marianna
Supervisore/Tutore: Csepeli, Gyorgy
Issue Date: 26-Apr-2010
Publisher: Università degli studi di Trieste
The dissertation explored the themes of multiple identities and out-group attitudes among minority (autochthonous and immigrant) and majority groups on the Italo-Slovene borderland, considered a “natural laboratory” to study the effects of the entrance of Slovenia in European Union and in the Schengen area on ethnic and national identification, territorial attachments, intergroup dynamics and social integration processes.

These issues were approached combining quantitative (415 questionnaires) and qualitative (56 interviews) measures. The research was grounded in the conceptual models developed in the field of social psychology, using as main theoretical frameworks the Social Identity Theory and the Self-Categorization Theory (Tajfel, 1982; Horsey & Hogg, 2000) and Social Identity Complexity Theory (Roccas & Brewer, 2002).

It aimed to determine whether complex (vs. simple) ingroup identification in minority and majority members is related to outgroup orientation. Individuals with high social identity complexity were expected to be more inclusive and to show more outgroup acceptance (Brewer & Pierce, 2005).

Furthermore, the study tested a new measure created to measure social identity complexity by assessing inclusion of others in the self.
We argued that people who are exposed to more groups coexisting in a multicultural and plurilingual geographic region or who have been socialized in two cultures at the same time are more likely to exhibit a more complex social identity structure (Benet-Martínez, Leu, Lee, & Morris, 2002; Berry, 2003; Miller, Brewer & Arbuckle, 2009).
This was confirmed with our sample: mainly minority members, but also some majority respondents expressed a high level of social identity complexity. Slovene minority members frequently saw themselves as something else and more than merely “Slovenian” or “Italian”, for instance, used more than one ethno-cultural label and self-categorization with different degrees of overlapping components, showing an effective integration expressed in combined ethnic and national identification (Berry, 2006) or showed hybrid identities.
Following Bhabha's perspective (1996), it was suggested that hybrid identifications and other complex identity structures may have the potential to mediate similarities and differences between groups, transcending the binary oppositional positioning of “us” and “them”, fostering inclusion and collaboration between groups.

When ethnic identity and social comparison were primed, Slovene minority members of our sample expressed higher degrees of ethnic identification than majority members. Since they tended to adopt complex identification self-descriptions, it appeared clear that these forms of self-definition are strategies that help reducing uncertainty and maintaining the optimal level of distinctivity (Leonardelli & Brewer, 2001). They also expressed higher attachments to local territorial units rather than national ones.
The results further revealed aspects of situational ethnicity among Slovene minority members. All the groups considered language and culture as the most important national identity markers and a requirement for acculturation.
Most of the participants stated they did not perceive any significant effect of the socio-political changes of the last decades on their ethnic and national sense of self or on intergroup attitudes. Among the positive aspects mentioned there were pride and confidence related to one's sense of belonging, strenghtened awareness of European citizenship, increased attachment to Slovenia, more opportunities for inergroup contact and cooperation fostering mutual knowledge.
The data suggested that perceived similarity with target group and complex identity structure are associated with lower social distance, higher percentage of intergroup contacts and more positive outgroup orientation. We concluded with some reflections on limitations of the study and potentials of complex multiple social identifications in intergroup bias reduction strategies.
Ciclo di dottorato: XXI Ciclo
Keywords: ethnic identitySlovene minoritymultiple identitiessocial identity complexityoutgroup attitudes
Type: Doctoral
Language: en
NBN: urn:nbn:it:units-8957
Appears in Collections:Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche

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