Do religious identity and media messages join forces? Young Dutch Muslims' identification management strategies in the Netherlands
SourceEthnicities, 23, 1, (2023), pp. 26-45
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR SOC
SubjectInequality, cohesion and modernization; Ongelijkheid, cohesie en modernisering
This study investigates, using an experimental study, the consequences of negative and positive media messages on young Muslims by gaining insight into who, and under which circumstances, engages in certain collective or individual identity-management strategies. Based on Social Identity Theory (SIT) and previous literature, we expect that negative and more positive media messages moderate the relationship between the degree of identification with the religious group and the application of identity-management strategies. Factor analyses illustrate the presence of at least three types of strategies: collective-fight strategies (meaning one is willing to fight for the group), collective flight-strategies (that entail no change of the status quo) and individual strategies (strategies that solely benefit the individual). Contributions are made empirically and theoretically. Empirically, we measure and group all proposed identity-management strategies based on our findings among the same research population. Theoretically, we hypothesise about how both negative and positive media messages condition the role of religious saliency for Muslims' identity-management strategies. Results from a survey-embedded experiment among Dutch Moroccan and Turkish Muslims show that high identifiers are more likely to apply fight strategies, and less likely to apply individual strategies (in line with SIT). Regardless of tone, exposure to messages mentioning Muslims make the application of fight strategies more likely among high identifiers. Meanwhile lower identifiers feel a reduced need for change when exposed to more positive messages. These insights in the (mutual) role of religious identification and media messages shed new light on how media messages can bring about group distances, intergroup conflicts and intragroup cohesion and provide a stepping-stone for future research to further insight in the systemic and long-term implications thereof.
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