Prioritizing Identities: Cross Categorization of Ethnicity and Religious Sects in Turkey Identities: Ethnicity and/or Religion
Keywords:Cross categorization, minority, ethnicity, religious Sect.
AbstractThis study aims to investigate how different ethnic groups (Turkish/Kurdish) and religious sects (Alevi/Sunni) are perceived in Turkey. These groups have a long history of conflicts. In order to examine the perception of these conflicting group identities, we adopted the theoretical frameworks of simple and cross categorization developed by the Social Identity Theory and the Category Differentiation Model. Both theories converge on the idea of in-group favoritism in the case of simple categorization while they offer different explanations for cross categorization condition. In order to test these differing theoretical propositions, we asked our participants to evaluate simple and cross categorization conditions based on variables of ethnicity and sect. Our sample consisted of 106 individuals from two ethnic groups (Kurdish/Turkish) and two religious sects (Alevi/Sunni). The participants completed a questionnaire based on Zavalloni’s focused introspection technique. Within subjects repeated measures ANOVA analysis were carried out for both simple and cross categorization. The results of the analysis revealed that the participants emphasized in-group similarities and out-group differences both for ethnicity and religious sect in the simple categorization condition. Moreover, in-group similarities based on religious sects rather than ethnicity were prioritized in the cross categorization condition. The results confirmed the Social Identity Theory’s assumptions generally. Results were discussed in terms of relevant literature, and in relation to historical and political issues regarding ethnicity and sects in Turkey.
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