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An investigation of the social identity model of collective action and the ‘sedative’ effect of intergroup contact among Black and White students in South Africa


Huseyin Cakal, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3UD, UK (e-mail:


Two studies investigated the role of intergroup contact in predicting collective action tendencies along with three key predictors proposed by the social identity model of collective action (SIMCA; Van Zomeren, Postmes, & Spears, 2008). Study 1 (N= 488 Black South African students) tested whether social identity would positively, whereas intergroup contact would negatively predict collective action and support for policies benefiting the ingroup. Study 2 (N= 244 White South African students) predicted whether social identity would positively predict collective action benefiting the ingroup, and intergroup contact would positively predict support for policies to benefit the Black outgroup. Both studies yielded evidence in support of the predictive power of social identity and contact on collective action and policy support. Additionally, Study 1 confirmed that intergroup contact moderated the effects of social identity on relative deprivation, and relative deprivation on collective action. Overall findings support an integration of SIMCA and intergroup contact theory, and provide a fuller understanding of the social psychological processes leading to collective action.

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