An Experiment Using Race and Religion to Determine Whether the Effects of Cross-Cutting Identities are Additive or Interactive Open Access

Wiegert, Tyler Mathew (2016)

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Political science has operated until now without an explicit theory of identity, with researchers restricting their inquiries to one identity at a time often relying on the common assumption that conflict arises out of differences in identity. When cross-cutting or overlapping identities are relevant, researchers employ an additive model wherein shared identities increase peace and differing identities increase conflict. This has left the discipline unable to explain situations where conflict arises out of overlapping identities, and the salience of one dimension of identity versus another appears important. Tajfel (1974) and Turner's (1975) social identity theory suggests an interactive model of identity that can explain these occurrences. To examine whether an additive or interactive model is more accurate, and to improve understanding of the relationship between overlapping identities and conflict, this thesis uses an original survey experiment to determine how religious and racial identities affect whether an individual supports hostility against a foreign government. In accordance with social identity theory, respondents who matched one of the leaders' identities were significantly more hostile than respondents who matched neither identity. In addition, race and religion were found to have an interactive effect on hostility, and independent effects were found for several demographic factors.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Literature Review 3

Political Science Conception of Cross-Cutting Identities 3

Social Identity- The Social-Psychological Foundations 6

How Identities Interact From Each Perspective 8

Political Science Conception of Identity Interactions 9

Social Identity Theory Conception of Identity Interactions 9

Foundations of Group Formation and Group Behavior 10

Ethnic and Religious Identification 15

Ethnic Identification 15

Religious and Ethnic Identification 17

Research Design 22

Survey Recruitment 24

Independent Variables 25

Main Experiment 28

Hypotheses 29

Treatment Group I 30

Treatment Group II 30

Treatment Groups III and IV 31

Religious Control Questions 33

How the Literature Measures Religiosity 33

How I Measure Religiosity 38

Ethnic Control Questions 40

Control Variables 41

Dependent Variable 42

Methodology and Results 42

Survey Recruitment and Treatment Group Assignment 43

Methodology 43

Results 45

Dependent Variable Scoring and Treatment Group Comparison 46

Methodology 46

Results for the Primary Question: Which Theory Better Describes Identity Interactions 47

Results for the Secondary Question: Direct and Interactive Effects of Race and Religion 58

Direct Effects of Matching the Scenario's Race and Religion 58

Interactive Effects of Matching the Scenario's Race and Religion 59

Hostility Toward Christians vs. Muslims 65

Results for the Tertiary Question: Independent Effects of Demographic Factors 66

Demographic Factors 66

AvgHostility 68

MaxHostility 73

Discussion 77

Result 1: Intermediate Levels of Shared Identity Create Support for Hostility 78

Intersectionality 78

Ethnic Fragmentation 80

Political Framing 85

Treatment Group I 88

Results 2: There is an Interactive Effect Between Religion and Race 90

Result 3: Demographic Variables Have Independent Effects 90

Religion 90

Race 92

Gender 93

Ideology/Partisanship 94

Income 95

Education 96

Limitations 97

Recruitment Method 97

Assignment Method 98

Survey Formatting 99

Scope Limitations 100

Conclusion 101

References 103

Appendix A: Survey 113

Appendix B: Additional Tables 123

Treatment Group I T-Tests 123

Hostility Toward Christians vs. Muslims 125

Direct Effects of Religion and Race on Hostility 127

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