Authors: Dr Christine Dobbs, Swansea University and Prof. Russell Spears, Groningen University

Day Two – Wednesday 26th June

Strand – Identity and Place

Session Four: 11.30am – 1pm

Social identity theorists have established that a respective group’s status and the perceived legitimacy of this status play a key role in intergroup relations. Also a shared, superordinate category membership will affect inter-sub-group relations, although there is a wealth of conflicting literature proposing that the impact will enhance or attenuate these. We wondered whether priming Welsh participants to identify also at the superordinate level (GB or EU) change ingroup bias towards England?

The experimental study employed a 2 (National Group: English/Welsh) X 3 (Condition: EU/GB/no superordinate category) X 2 (Target Group: ingroup-outgroup ratings) mixed ANOVA design, involving 184 participants from three HE establishments in Wales. DVs included ingroup identification, superordinate category identification and evaluation, perceived power, and evaluative (trait-based) and allocation-based ingroup bias. Welsh ingroup identification was significantly higher than English ingroup identification (p < .001), and it felt more powerful under The EU than under Great Britain (p < .01). Welsh evaluative ingroup bias was significantly higher than amongst English participants irrespective of condition (p < .001). In contrast, the English sample showed higher allocation-based ingroup bias that the Welsh sample irrespective of condition (p < .001). However, Welsh evaluative ingroup bias (p < .01) and allocation-based ingroup bias (p < .05) decreased, as European identification increased.

Although small, student-based study, it appears that the Welsh link Englishness to being British, but in the EU context feel more powerful. Also, if feelings of Europeanness and dual-identification can be fostered, this might see a decrease in negative attitudes towards England.

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