Group Identities

Sonia Roccas, Andrey Elster

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We review a large body of research showing the negative impact of group identification on intergroup relations: people who strongly identify with their group tend to endorse more strongly aggressive policies, are less critical of the ingroup's wrongdoings, and are less responsive to interventions designed to reduce conflict. Despite its robustness, the link between identification and intergroup conflict is not indissoluble. We focus on three factors that mitigate it. First, awareness of one's multiple identities mitigates reactions to intergroup conflicts. Second, there are different ways to express one's identification with a group, some of which have the potential to encourage group members to act in ways that reduce intergroup conflict. Finally, the content of national and ethnic identities has profound impact on the way people react to intergroup conflict. We review studies on the content of identities focusing on aspects that may escalate or mitigate conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Intergroup Conflict
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199971121
ISBN (Print)9780199747672
StatePublished - 21 Nov 2012

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 by Oxford University Press, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Collective victimhood
  • Intergroup conflict
  • Multiple identities
  • Nationalism
  • Patriotism
  • Social identity


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