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Title: When the relationship between nationality and religion matters : an investigation into changes in the identity system and inter-group relations as a response to threat
Author: Chrysanthaki, Theopsiti
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis is concerned with how multiple identities are perceived to interrelate and the functions they may serve for the individual in the context of stability, change and identity threat. The research focuses on the interrelationship between national and religious identities in Greece. It drew on Identity Process Theory (Breakwell, 1986), Roccas and Brewer’s Social Complexity Model (2002) and the work of Kay Deaux (1993; Deaux, Reid, Mizrahi and Ethier, 1995) to investigate three ways that identities might interrelate: structure, content and motivations. Using self-completed questionnaires with some open-ended measures, and 7 semistructured interviews, Study 1 investigated the relationship between the strength of identification, centrality and content of national and religious identity elements. The sample consisted of 107 adult Greeks. Strong relationships were found between the levels of identification and centrality of the two identity elements as well as a large overlap in terms of content, both at an individual and the social representational level. In Study 2, a repeated-measures experimental design was used to investigate the relationship between the two identity elements before and after threat was induced in the principles of national distinctiveness and continuity. The sample consisted of 258 Greek students. It was shown that although the level of identification with each of the national and religious identities is predicted by their respective motivations, the same motivational principles (continuity and self-esteem) predicted levels of identification with the two identities. Furthermore, the motivational principles relating to each of the identity elements were strongly related to each other. Threat to national identity did not only affect the relative contribution that national identity made to the maintenance of the motivational principles but also affected the relative contribution made by the religious identity. Religious identification increased after threat, but most importantly, the relative contribution of its motivational principles changed as a response to the particular type of identity threat induced in the national identity. Study 3 examined the extent to which levels of perceived overlap between national and religious identity elements influence Greek nationals’ acculturation preferences from the state and the immigrant/minority groups contextualised also for different domains (citizenship, education and intermarriage) and for different target groups (Albanians, Russian and Greek Moslems of Thrace). It obtained questionnaire data from 316 Greek adults. The results showed that levels of perceived overlap between the two identity elements, was strongly and positively associated with perceived threat to national identity and prejudice and affected differently the levels of endorsement of host majority acculturation in relation to the immigrant/groups and the state. The findings of the thesis are discussed in relation to how the relationships between multiple identities could be usefully conceptualised and how they may be used by individuals as coping strategies under the context of change and/or threat. It is also argued that inter-group perceptions can be better explained by taking into account multiple identities rather than the relative salience of single identities at a particular time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available