International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Identity barriers, group fit and the individual in collective action

Avelie Stuart, Murdoch University; Emma Thomas, Murdoch University; Ngaire Donaghue, Murdoch University

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: Murdoch University
Research Area: Social inequality and social change

The social identity approachs key contribution to collective action literature is the importance of identification with a social movement organisation, as a predictor of participation in collective action. This paper aims to shed light on some of the complexities and reservations people experience in their identification, or inability to identify, with social movement groups. 101 participants completed an open ended survey which was analysed with content and thematic analysis. The analysis focuses on the symbolic identity conflicts that people report experiencing, such as concerns about not being the right ‘fit’ with social movement groups, a fear of losing their ability to act as individuals, as well as their perceptions of what kind of people are capable of being involved in collective action.  This paper will argue for the necessity of scrutinising the ideological content of collective action identities, and the complexity of a person’s existing identities, as barriers preventing participation.