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Defensive national identity relates to support for collective violence, in contrast to secure national identity, in a sample of displaced Syrian diaspora members

Abou-Ismail, Ramzi, Gronfeldt, Bjarki, Marinthe, Gaëlle (2024) Defensive national identity relates to support for collective violence, in contrast to secure national identity, in a sample of displaced Syrian diaspora members. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 99 . Article Number 101954. ISSN 0147-1767. (doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2024.101954) (KAR id:105377)

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This paper examines national identities and collective violence beliefs in a sample of Syrian diaspora members (N = 521). Most of the Syria diaspora fled the ongoing civil war and are therefore opposed to President Assad and his regime, which still control most of their homeland. It is therefore a compelling question if national identities, which remain strong in the diaspora despite displacement, shape attitudes towards the regime at home. To this end, we contrast national narcissism (i.e., defensive national identity), an exaggerated belief in one’s national ingroup’s greatness, and national identification (i.e., secure national identity), a feeling of belonging to the nation and evaluating it positively, as differential predictors of collective violence beliefs. We find that a defensive national identity was related to support for both upward (i.e., violence targeted at regime leaders) and diffuse (i.e., violence targeted at regime supporters) collective violence. Meanwhile, secure national identity was linked to opposition to diffuse collective violence and was unrelated to upward collective violence. Thus, in a sample of displaced, non-WEIRD people, a pattern often found in similar research in the West is replicated, in that secure national identity can relate to benevolent and peaceful group processes. Meanwhile, national narcissism seems to be a driver of hostile intergroup attitudes. National sentiments should therefore be central in any discussion on diasporic attitudes towards the Syrian homeland’s regime and fellow citizens. The results could be utilised in designing interventions to promote harmony in diaspora communities around the world, and ultimately reconciliation once peace is finally restored.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2024.101954
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF41 Psychology and philosophy
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Ramzi Abou Ismail
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2024 19:20 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2024 10:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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