International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Supporting us, Supporting you: when the disadvantaged group supports the collective action by the ou

Gerhard Schwar, University of Johannesburg; Huseyin Cakal, University of Oxford; Miles Hewstone, University of Oxford

Conference: ISPP 2011
Research Area: Social inequality and social change

We tested a model where positive intergroup contact, quality of contact and dimensions of ingroup identification (salience and value) predicted collective action tendencies among university students in South Africa (Black South African =226). Using structural equation modelling, our data supported a model where quality of contact directly and positively predicted endorsement of collective action taken by the White outgroup via reduced perceived threat. Evidence was also found for the sedating negative effect of contact on collective action tendencies to favour the Black ingroup via threat. In line with earlier research, ingroup identification positively predicted collective action tendencies favouring Black ingroup both directly and indirectly via relative deprivation and threat. Surprisingly a similar but somehow smaller effect of ingroup identification on the endorsement of collective action taken by the White outgroup was present. We also tested for moderational effects of group boundaries. Perceived legitimacy of White economic and social superiority significantly moderated the contact-collective action path. When legitimacy was high, contact did not predict collective action but when it was low it did so strongly and significantly.  Consistent with earlier theoretical work on collective action, the present study provided novel support for the role of perceived group boundaries in predicting collective action as well as negative effect of intergroup contact via threat.