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Multiculturalism caveat: potential antecedents of intergroup and acculturation attitudes

Multiculturalism caveat: potential antecedents of intergroup and acculturation attitudes

Roscini, Claudia (2017) Multiculturalism caveat: potential antecedents of intergroup and acculturation attitudes. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Multiculturalism and relevant acculturation processes are issues that are highly relevant today. Acculturation occurs in multicultural societies and refers to a process through which people from different backgrounds and with different identities try to find a balance within the same societies, through the recognition of all their cultural differences. Most of the literature on the topic focuses on the acculturation outcomes. However, acknowledging a gap in existing research, the main aim of this thesis is to test two of the potential acculturation antecedents: social norms and experiences of social exclusion.

The theoretical framework of this PhD project derives mainly from the Interactive Acculturation Model (Bourhis, Moise, Perrault & Senecal, 1997) and adopts an intergroup approach (Zagefka & Brown, 2002), in that it considers the perspective of both the majority and minority groups involved in the acculturation process. Specifically, the experimental work of this thesis assesses whether social norms on multiculturalism and experiences of social exclusion (the acculturation antecedents) affect people’s preferences for cultural maintenance and cultural adoption, which are considered the acculturation components. The effects of the acculturation antecedents on participants’ attitudes toward specific acculturation strategies (individualism, integrationism, assimilationism, segregationism/separatism, and marginalisationism/exclusionism) and desire for future intergroup contact with relevant ethnic outgroups are also tested. The roles of people’s social identities, specifically with the ethnic ingroup, the national group, and as multicultural, and previous experiences of positive intergroup contact, are taken into account in the acculturation analysis.

This thesis is comprised of a pilot study (four focus groups), and six experimental studies that investigated majority and minority groups’ perspectives on multiculturalism and acculturation. The pilot study offers a general overview on the acculturation process, while the experimental studies analyse it on macro- and micro-level. In detail, Studies 1, 2, and 3 (3.a and 3.b, Chapter 4) tested, adopting a macro-level perspective, if social norms on multiculturalism affect the majority and minority’s acculturation attitudes (i.e. their preferences for specific acculturation components and acculturation strategies, as well as their desire for future intergroup contact). Studies 4, 5, and 6 assess the role of experiences of social inclusion versus exclusion in influencing the acculturation process (Chapter 5).

Confirming what has been suggested by the existing literature and extending the relevant work, analysis of data revealed differences in the way majority and minority groups experienced the acculturation process. Furthermore, the findings confirmed that social norms on multiculturalism influence people’s acculturation attitudes, while an inconsistent pattern of results has been found for the role of social exclusion as antecedent of the acculturation process. The data also indicated, as hypothesised, that people’s previous experiences of positive contact and their social identification should be included in the analysis. In detail, people’s identification as multicultural moderated their acculturation attitudes. Findings are discussed in relation to the literature on acculturation, and theoretical and practical implications for contemporary social issues are outlined.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multiculturalism; acculturation process; acculturation model; intergroup relations;
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2019 12:04

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