Active rejection or passive indifference? Mixed-methods evidence on national (dis)identification

Gligorić, Vukašin and Obradović, Sandra (2024). Active rejection or passive indifference? Mixed-methods evidence on national (dis)identification. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations (Early access).



Much of the research on national identity investigates its negative aspects through the form of nationalism. However, what happens at the opposite end of the spectrum, when someone does not glorify the national ingroup but actively rejects it? Across two studies conducted in Serbia (Ns = 349 and 554), we investigated national identification and disidentification, their antecedents, and consequences. We found no evidence to distinguish between (low) national identification and disidentification. Regarding antecedents of national identification, we found that self-stereotypes (positive and lack of negative) were the most important contributors, followed by right-wing social ideology. Regarding consequences, low national identifiers endorsed wider identities (e.g., European, World Citizen) and had higher intentions to migrate. Most strikingly, low identifiers blatantly dehumanized ingroup members, even more so than high identifiers dehumanized (high-status) outgroups. In analyzing qualitative data, we contextualized the quantitative findings by showing that low identification is mainly articulated as a mismatch between self and ingroup prototype, consequently leading to dehumanization. We conclude that low national identification can have detrimental effects, but that more research in the non-Western context is necessary to properly understand this phenomenon.

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