Date of Degree

6-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Tracey A. Revenson

Advisor

Kay Deaux

Committee Members

Kay Deaux

Demis E. Glasford

Daryl Wout

Shaun Wiley

Subject Categories

Multicultural Psychology | Psychology | Social Psychology

Keywords

Activism, Multiculturalism, Solidarity, Intergroup Dynamics, Identity

Abstract

This dissertation tests a new theoretical model that describes when low status group members will work with members of higher status groups for social change, known as intergroup political solidarity. Research on intergroup political solidarity has focused on either the high status group’s orientation toward solidarity or when members of separate groups work together on behalf of a common low status group. There is thus a lack of research on intergroup political solidarity from the perspective of lower status groups.

It is proposed that recognition of group differences by the high status group influences orientations toward intergroup political solidarity. Specifically: 1) the endorsement of multiculturalism (which recognizes group differences) by a higher status group, compared to colorblindness (which minimizes group differences), would increase intergroup political solidarity; 2) trust in the high status group and perceptions of common values with the high status group would mediate the relation between multicultural endorsement by the high status group and solidarity, compared to colorblindness; 3) strength of group identification would be positively associated with intergroup political solidarity; and 4) group identification would moderate the direct relation between multiculturalism and intergroup political solidarity, such that multiculturalism would increase solidarity under lower levels of group identification, compared to colorblindness.

Three experiments were conducted with two lower status groups, Latinos (Experiments 1 and 3) and people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, or Queer (LGBTQ; Experiment 2), using two different methodological approaches, an internet experiment (Experiments 1 and 2) and an in-person laboratory experiment (Experiment 3). In all three experiments, the participants read a (fictional) press release that led them to believe that a relevant higher status group (Whites [Experiments 1 and 3] or heterosexual individuals [Experiment 2]) endorsed either multiculturalism or colorblindness. The conditions were compared on four dimensions of intergroup political solidarity: willingness to develop programs that promote social change with the high status group; willingness to engage in collective action with the high status group; attitudes toward joint action between low and high status groups; and willingness to work with the high status group without any specific action in mind. Group identification, common values and trust were measured. In Experiment 3, participants were led to believe they would interact with a high status group member and, thus, willingness to work with that person was also assessed. Experiments 2 and 3 tested the full meditation models.

The hypotheses were partially supported. Endorsement of multiculturalism by the high status group, compared to colorblindness, increased one of the four dimensions of solidarity: working on programs with the high status group (Experiments 1 and 2). Greater strength of identification with one’s low status group was related to greater solidarity across several of the outcome variables: working on programs (Experiments 1 and 2), collective action (Experiment 3), working with the high status group without any specific action (Experiment 3), and working with a member of the high status group (Experiment 3). Neither trust nor common values mediated the relation between multicultural endorsement and solidarity (Experiments 1-3). There was partial evidence that group identification moderates the role of multiculturalism (Experiment 2). This finding occurred with only willingness to work on programs among LGBTQ.

The findings suggest that an alignment between who endorses multiculturalism and the type action in solidarity may be critical. Group identification may extend beyond increasing independent collective action, to action for the rights of one’s group alongside members of a higher status group. The results can be applied to future research on intergroup political solidarity, and also used by activist coalitions to encourage solidarity among the activists in their group.

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