Citizenship Identity Model

Citizenship Identity Model

Introduction. Citizenship identity concept is becoming more and more important in the context of current political processes which result in formation of multicultural societies with necessity to adopt some general social identity. The European Union for example is constantly spreading its borders by accepting new member states as well as facing intense immigration. Acceptance of new cultures requires development of mutually accepted identity like a “citizen of the European Union”. Obviously, processes which require different cultures co-existence on the territory of one political entity happen not only in the European Union but in different parts of the world with inherent political, economic, cultural peculiarities for the region.

Citizenship identity can be considered as a type of social identity co-existing in the system of social identities with other social identities like gender identity, professional identity, regional identity, ethnic identity and so on.

Objectives. The objective of this study is to offer a model of citizenship identity as a type of social identity to be further checked and probably revised in empirical studies conducted in different countries.

Results. According to H. Tajfel (1978), H. Tajfel and J.C. Turner (1979) social identity is a “part of self-concept which derives from his / her knowledge of his / her membership of social group (or groups), together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership”. Each social identity is formed as a result of group (ingroup) membership and opposition to other, outgroup. Processes of social comparison lie in the basis of social identity formation. People evaluate believes and abilities comparing themselves with others in the process of social interaction.

Ingroup is compared to similar or different outgroup, parameters of comparison are social categorizations which are stereotypical constructs as they determine borders of group membership (Festinger, 1954). People also need to define value of their group in comparison to another group by intergroup comparison. Motivation for such comparison lies in the need for positive social identity: the one which shows positive distinctive features of a person and ingroup according to significant characteristics.

R. Jenkins (1996) and K. Korostelina (2003) share the point of view that both social and personal identities are intrinsically social though social identity is usually considered in terms of group similarity and is connected to group membership, meanwhile personal identity is determined as a set of individual characteristics and underlines personal distinctions from other people. Personal behavior is formed as a result of interaction between personal and social identities.

K.V. Korostelina (2003) determines social identity as a system reflecting the following types of identity: basic, local, and situational. Basic identities are relatively stable and dominant, some of them exist during the whole life. Local identities are variant, changes happen quite often in them. Situational identities are connected to concrete situations and depend on them.

According to K.V. Korostelina (2003) social identity should fulfill the following functions: self-esteem, social status, personal security, guarantee of social defense, possibility of personal growth. If due to social changes social identity stops fulfilling its functions such identity gradually loses its meaning and disappears. Even weak influence can break equilibrium in such an open system as identity. Formation of new outgroups, change of group status lead to restructure of system of identities, formation of new identities, contradiction between them, what cause changes in social behavior of a person. If new identity fulfills necessary functions it quickly replaces the elder one (Korostelina, 2003).

G. Duveen and B. Lloyd (1986) underline meaning of culture in analyzing social identities. They offer to consider social identities as internalization of social representations of groups to which individuals belong.

P. du Gay (1996; 1997) looks at identity problems through the prism of culture. He points out that identities are constructed, consumed and regulated inside culture creating meanings through symbolic systems of identity positions representation.

M. A. Hogg and D. Abrams (1988) describe the role of power relations and status between groups in identity formation. Domineering group possesses power to impose system of values and ideology. J. Rutherford (1990) also draws attention to relations of domineering and subordination in identity formation. He also shows that identity determines connection between our past and present social, cultural and economic relations as well as overlapping everyday life and political relations of domineering and subordination.

Following S. Skevington (1989) we would like to emphasize place of emotions in social identity theory. In Tajfel’s (1978) definition of social identity “emotional significance attached to membership” in a group is mentioned. The intensity and valence of emotional attachment to the group together with cognitive self-definition of membership form the basis for intergroup behavior (Skevington, 1989).

Social constructivist approach underlines importance of context in analyzing emotions in social identity (Coulter, 1986; Averill, 1986). Due to the context requirements people are to feel certain emotions instead of others (Coulter, 1986), e. g. anger instead of sadness. Another relevant emotional feature concerning social identity is that shift in values, group membership is connected to emotional readjustment (Averill, 1986).

The proposed model of citizenship identity is shown on Figure 1. It consists of meaning content, citizenship activity in which it is revealed and behavior in concrete situation of interaction. Meaning content includes system of citizenship values and citizenship attitudes, while citizenship values lie in the center (the most stable component), citizenship attitudes (more apt to changes) lie in the layer next to the center. Third layer, citizenship activity, is even more apt to changes than the previous ones. The outer layer, behaviour in concrete situation, is the most apt for changes.

Figure 1. Citizenship identity model.

Among proposed methods for empirical research we would like to offer the following: Schwartz’s Value Inventory, open-end statements, experiments. Especially interesting is to measure affective components of attitudes. Quite often cognitive components are more neutral and much less negative than affective.

A method developed in 1980s in Leningrad Scientific Research Psycho-Neurological Institute named after V. M. Behterev can reveal affective components of such attitudes. This method is called “Colour test of attitude” based on 8-colour M. Lüscher Test (Bazhyn, Etkind, 1985).

A subject is asked to range colours according to personal preference from the most pleasant to the most unpleasant. Then he/she is asked to associate a notion (outgroup member) with a definite colour. Several notions can be proposed at once and colours can be repeated.

This test reveals valence: association with the1st, 2nd, 3rd place of colour in personal preference range means emotional acceptance, 4th, 5th – emotionally neutral attitude, 6th, 7th, and 8th – emotional rejection.

Normativity of notion is defined by comparing the chosen association colour with normative sequence of colours which is the following: “34251607” where 1 – blue, 2 – green, 3 – red, 4 – yellow, 5 – violate, 6 – brown, 7 – black, 0 – grey. As in case with valence, the1st, 2nd, 3rd place of colour in normative sequence means acceptance of the notion as a social stimulus, 4th, 5th – neutral attitude, 6th, 7th, and 8th – rejection as a social stimulus.

Program of behavior is determined referring associated colour to the personal preference range: the 1st, 2nd position are connected to future behavior program, 3rd, 4th – present, 5th, 6th – potential, 7th, 8th – rejected behavior program.

It could be especially interesting to compare results in multiethnic societies with different levels of economic prosperity, different levels of interethnic tension, and peculiarities of political trust.

Conclusions. Citizenship identity model does not include so far such an important component as political trust. S. Poznyak (2013) defines political trust as feeling trust towards state, government and other institutes by citizens. As political trust is essential factor defining some forms of citizenship activity in our further theoretical and empirical studies we will determine interrelation between political trust and components of the citizenship identity model.

Bondarevskaya I. Citizenship identity model / I. Bondarevskaya // Proceedings of the 4th international scientific and practical seminar: Psychology of political and economic self-constitution (Kyiv, Ukraine). – P. 18 – 23.