The role of national identity, religious identity, and intergroup contact on social distance across multiple social divides in Turkey

Rezarta Bilali, Yeshim Iqbal, Ayşe Betül Çelik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Using a nationally representative dataset from Turkey, we examined the effects of national identity, religious identity, religious practice, and intergroup contact on social distance towards disliked groups along ethnic (Turks vs. Kurds), religious (Sunnis vs. Alevis) and ideological divides (supporters vs. opponents of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP). We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to examine two mechanisms (via perceived threat and empathy) through which ingroup identification and intergroup contact influence social distance toward disliked groups. Perceived threat, but not empathy, mediated the effect of national identification on higher social distance towards Kurds, AKP supporters and AKP opponents. Both perceived threat and empathy mediated the effects of religious practice on distance towards Alevis. Intergroup contact had both direct and indirect effects (via threat and empathy) on social distance. Multigroup SEM showed that contact's effects did not vary across outgroup targets. By contrast, the effects of national and religious identity on social distance varied depending on the outgroup target. The findings highlight the importance of considering identity content and meaning attached to social categories in making predictions about the influence of identification with different social categories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-85
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Volume65
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Keywords

  • Contact
  • National identity
  • Religious identity
  • Social distance
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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