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Page 89

Superordinate-subgroup relationship


this proposition is by using a relative identification score: ethnic

identification minus national identification. A positive score indicates that

the subgroup identity is considered more important than the national one

and therefore acts as the figure against a background of the national

category. To our knowledge, previous studies have not investigated group

identification in this relative manner, although multiple memberships in

the collective self is widely acknowledged (e.g. Deaux, Reid, Mizrahi, &

Ethier, 1995; Roccas & Brewer, 2002). In line with both theories, a

subgroup identity which is the figure against the background of the

superordinate identity should lead to less positive out-group evaluations

and more positive in-group evaluation. This means that higher relative

ethnic compared to national identification can be expected to be associated

with a more negative evaluation of out-groups and a more positive

evaluation of the in-group.

In addition, we assessed self-identification by asking our

participants explicitly to indicate whether they consider themselves to be

ethnic, national or dual identifiers. Following the common in-group

identity model and the dual identity model, we expected national and dual

identifiers to show similar and more positive out-group evaluations than

ethnic identifiers.

Furthermore, it can be expected that in Mauritius ethnic identity is

not experienced to be in competition with national identity because the

national context is explicitly defined by diversity and multiculturalism.

Cultural diversity is intrinsic to the Mauritian national self-understanding

and pluralism and dual identities represent the national ideal. Various

studies have argued for a differential preference of ethnic and national

identity by majority and minority group members (see Dovidio et al, 2007;

Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Typically, minority groups are more concerned

about maintaining their subgroup identity. However, this concern will

depend on the way that the superordinate category is defined. In the

context of Mauritius, we expected few, if any, ethnic group differences in

national identification and in self-identification. In a national context

explicitly defined by diversity and multiculturalism, all groups can be

expected to have a similar sense of belonging to the superordinate category

and a similar self-identity. Therefore, we predicted for all three groups a

positive association between the measures of national identification and

ethnic identification. In addition, for each of the three ethnic groups, we

expected that most participants would choose the dual identity option on

the self-identification question.

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