Nationhood in the non-Western world: National identity and intergroup relations in Mauritius

F.M. van der Werf, Maykel Verkuyten, B. Martinovic, Caroline Ng Tseung-Wong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperOther research output

Abstract

National identity is of profound importance in all societies around the world. Social psychological research has examined national identity content and its intergroup consequences in terms of the civic-ethnic distinction, with sometimes a cultural understanding added (e.g., Reijerse et al., 2012; Shulman, 2002). However, this research has predominantly been conducted in Western countries and in relation to immigrants and ethnic minority groups. It is unclear whether people in non-Western societies make a similar distinction with similar intergroup consequences. Therefore, our study investigates national identity in the context of multicultural Mauritius and among the numerically largest groups in Mauritius (Hindus, Muslims and Creoles; N = 1770). The findings indicate three main understandings of national identity. The first one – not found in most Western studies – refers to living according to the national, multicultural values of tolerance and celebration of diversity. Stronger endorsement of this understanding was associated with more positive attitudes towards other ethnic groups and immigrants. The second one is more civic and relates to place of birth and citizenship status. In contrast to research in the West, the endorsement of this civic understanding was not associated with out-group attitudes. The third one involved a more cultural understanding (e.g., speaking the language, being religious) and stronger endorsement was associated with more negative intergroup attitudes. There was no evidence for the existence of an ethnic understanding of national identity. These findings show that the distinction in national identity content found in Western countries does not necessarily generalize to non-Western societies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017
EventThe 10th Biennial Congress of the International Academy for Intercultural Research - College of Staten Island, New York, United States
Duration: 25 Jun 201729 Jun 2017
http://oae.csi.cuny.edu/iair/index.html

Conference

ConferenceThe 10th Biennial Congress of the International Academy for Intercultural Research
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew York
Period25/06/1729/06/17
Internet address

Keywords

  • national identity
  • intergroup attitudes
  • Mauritius

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