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Title: On the role of death in life : an integrative socio-psychological perspective of Islamophobic prejudice in the UK
Author: Fairlamb, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 9260
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2017
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The thesis explores the psychological antecedents of Islamophobic prejudice in the UK, through the lens of the Identity-Representations Model (IRM). The IRM attempts to combine the insights of Social Identity Theory, Intergroup Threat Theory, Identity Process Theory, Essentialism, and above all else, Terror Management Theory, in attempt to provide a stronger understanding of Islamophobic prejudice. Seven studies were conducted in the thesis. The first two studies found that realistic and symbolic threats are related to a range of identity motives threats (esteem, efficacy, distinctiveness, belonging, continuity, and meaning). In addition, national identification, and ingroup/outgroup essentialism were identified as antecedents of threat perception. Studies 3 and 4 explored whether these identity motives function to manage existential anxiety. Two experiments supported this assertion as reminders of death increased the need to write about oneself in a way that affirms these motives, whilst threats to these motives increase death-thought accessibility (DTA). Study 5 then demonstrated that national essentialism and identification were related to levels of DTA after exposure to worldview threat. In addition, the findings suggested that DTA moderated the relationship of national essentialism and identification to levels of ingroup bias after worldview threat. The final two studies considered how to reduce prejudice towards Muslims, and improve intergroup relations. The findings demonstrated that promoting tolerance as an ingroup norm could reduce opposition to Muslim rights, but this depended on the type of death reminder used. When reminded of terrorism, promoting tolerance instead increased opposition to Muslim rights. The present thesis marks a novel contribution into how various sociopsychological perspectives could be deployed to explain Islamophobic prejudice in the UK. The discussion considers some future avenues for research, including the possibility of individual differences in motive importance, as well as some potential issues with an approach such as the IRM.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Prejudice ; Mortality ; Intergroup relations ; Identity ; Essentialism