Title

Collective Identity and Mobilizations: The Relationship between Perceptions of Self and Community-Oriented Action

Publication Date

1-1-2008

Degree Name

MA in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Ken Williams

Abstract

This study documents the various factors thought to facilitate social mobilization within the New Orleans community (post Hurricane Katrina), with particular focus on the role of identity. First acknowledging the various types of identity and their relevance within the realm of social behavior, identity is understood to be more than a mechanism serving the purpose of self-reference and self-relevant thinking patterns. Instead identity is shown to be a powerful tool in shaping behavior in a manner conducive to societal and collective interests, borne through various institutions including: education, mainstream culture, economic structures and the government. Purposes of the report include examining those factors encouraging an expansion of identity so as to encompass a collectivity – thought to be more capable of initiating and sustaining significant social change. Findings found culture, family-orientation and poverty to be perceived as key elements uniting residents of New Orleans. Factors found to reinforce the perception of a collective identity center around the notion of being in a position to recognize commonalities amongst segments of the population. History and family support were found to be important in encouraging individuals to act on their conviction that collective concerns were important and worth fighting for. Factors outside of identity found to be crucial in encouraging a sustained movement toward just and equitable objectives include, hope (or some belief that success is possible), confidence, valued relations with others working in the community, and strength.

Disciplines

Community Psychology | Regional Sociology

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