Identity enactment as collective accomplishment: Religious identity enactment at home and at a festival

Stephen Reicher, Nick Hopkins (Lead / Corresponding author), Clifford Stevenson, Kavita Pandey, Shail Shankar, Shruti Tewari

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Abstract

Much research addresses the proposition that identifying with a group shapes individuals’ behaviour. Typically, such research employs experimental or survey methods, measuring or manipulating social identification and relating this to various outcome variables. Although shedding much light on the processes involved in the identity–behaviour relationship, such research tends to overlook the various constraints that limit individuals’ abilities to act in accordance with their identities. Using interview data gathered in north India, we explore the factors affecting the enactment of a religious identity. More specifically, using data gathered at a religious mass gathering, we compare and contrast participants’ reports of identity enactment when they are at the event and when they are in their home villages. These two contexts differ in terms of their social organization, especially the degree to which they are marked by the presence of a shared identity. Exploring participants’ accounts of such differences in social organization, we consider the social processes that constrain or facilitate identity enactment. In so doing, our analysis contributes to a richer analysis of the identity–behaviour relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Early online date28 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Identity enactment
  • mass gatherings
  • social identity
  • shared identity
  • identity enactment

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