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The language of change? Characterizations of in-group social position, threat, and the deployment of distinctive group attributes

Livingstone, Andrew George, Spears, Russell and Manstead, Antony Stephen Reid 2009. The language of change? Characterizations of in-group social position, threat, and the deployment of distinctive group attributes. British Journal of Social Psychology 48 (2) , pp. 295-311. 10.1348/014466608X329533

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Abstract

A considerable body of research has shown that group members establish and emphasize characteristics or attributes that define their in-group in relation to comparison out-groups. We extend this research by exploring the range of ways in which members of the same social category (Welsh people) deploy a particular attribute (the Welsh language) as a flexible identity management resource. Through a thematic analysis of data from interviews and two public speeches, we examine how the deployment of the Welsh language is bound up with characterizations of the in-group's wider intergroup position (in terms of power relations and their legitimacy and stability), and one's position within the in-group. We focus in particular on the rhetorical and strategic value of such characterizations for policing in-group boundaries on the one hand, and for the in-group's intergroup position on the other. We conclude by emphasizing the need to (1) locate analyses of the uses and importance of group-defining attributes within the social setting that gives them meaning and (2) to appreciate such characterizations as attempts to influence, rather than simply reflect that setting.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0144-6665
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:01
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/30943

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