Collective Narcissism and Intergroup Hostility: The Dark Side of ‘In-Group Love’



This paper reviews current research on intergroup consequences of collective narcissism – an emotional investment in an unrealistic belief in exaggerated greatness of an in-group. Integrating findings of the psychology of intergroup relations with findings regarding psychological outcomes of individual narcissism, the collective narcissism construct addresses the relationship between ‘in-group love’ and ‘out-group hate’. Differentiating between narcissistic and genuine positive group regard uncovers the potential of genuine ‘in-group’ love to motivate positive out-group attitudes and intergroup tolerance. Collective narcissism is also shown to be the aspects of positive group attachment that inspires defensive and retaliatory intergroup hostility under perceived threat. Narcissistic idealization of an in-group is contingent on external validation and underlain by internal doubts. Collective narcissists are never fully satisfied with external acknowledgement of the in-group and they are sensitive to anything that may undermine the in-group’s exaggerated image.