Beyond comparisons: The complexity and context‐dependency of collective victim beliefs

Johanna Ray Vollhardt*, Zsolt P. Szabó, Andrew McNeill, Eliana Hadjiandreou, Mikołaj Winiewski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Social psychological research on collective victimhood has focused on just a few ways in which people think about the ingroup's victimization that imply certain assumptions and limit our understanding of collective victim beliefs. Additionally, different historical and sociopolitical contexts may make different collective victim beliefs relevant. This article examines collective victim beliefs expressed in open-ended survey responses among six different groups: Northern Irish participants, Greek Cypriots, Hungarians, Poles, Jewish Americans, and Armenian Americans (N = 638). Qualitative content analysis revealed five broader categories with several collective victim beliefs each. General appraisals of the ingroup's collective victimization entailed centrality of ingroup victimization versus defocusing victimhood. More specific appraisals included context-specific characteristics of the ingroup's victimization, perceptions of the perpetrator group (attributions of blame), and perceptions of other victim groups (comparative victim beliefs, including rejecting comparisons). The findings extend and challenge commonly studied collective victim beliefs, and propose novel theoretical directions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1138-1157
Number of pages20
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume51
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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