2011

Formation and Persistence of Oppositional Identities

Reprint No. 2011:34

Author(s): Alberto Bisin, Eleonora Patacchini, Thierry Verdier and Yves Zenou Year: 2011 Title: European Economic Review Volume (No.): 55 (8) Pages: 1046–1071
Online article (restrictions may apply)


We develop a dynamic model of identity formation that explains why ethnic minorities may choose to adopt oppositional identities (i.e. some individuals may reject or not the dominant culture) and why this behavior may persist over time. We first show that the prevalence of an oppositional culture in the minority group cannot always be sustained in equilibrium. Indeed, because the size of the majority group is larger, there is an "imposed" process of exposition to role models from the majority group that favors the diffusion of mainstream values in the minority community. In spite of this, an oppositional culture in the minority group can nevertheless be sustained in steady state if there is enough cultural segmentation in terms of rolemodels, or if the size of the minority group is large enough, or if the degree of oppositional identity it implies is high enough. We also demonstrate that the higher the level of harassment and the number of racist individuals in the society, the more likely an oppositional minority culture will emerge. We finally show that ethnic identity and socialization effort can be more intense in mixed rather than segregated neighborhoods.


Reference:
Bisin, Alberto, Eleonora Patacchini, Thierry Verdier and Yves Zenou (2011), "Formation and Persistence of Oppositional Identities". European Economic Review 55(8), 1046–1071.

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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