Identity and Cultural Diversity : What social psychology can teach us book cover
1st Edition

Identity and Cultural Diversity
What social psychology can teach us

ISBN 9781848721210
Published October 8, 2013 by Routledge
288 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Identity and Cultural Diversity examines immigration and its effect on diversity from a social psychological perspective. Immigration increases cultural diversity and raises difficult questions of belonging, adaptation, and the unity of societies: questions of identity may be felt by people struggling with the basic problem of who they are and where they fit in, and although cultural diversity can enrich communities and societies it also sometimes leads to a new tribalism, which threatens democracy and social cohesion.

The author Maykel Verkuyten considers how people give meaning to the fact that they belong to ethnic, racial, religious and national groups, and the implications this can have for social cohesion. The opening chapters consider the nature of social identity and group identification, and include discussions of identity development in adolescence, acculturation, and multiple and dual identities. Verkuyten then considers one of the most pernicious social problems: how conflict emerges from perceiving others as different. He examines when and why group distinctions grow into conflicts and considers the role of cultural diversity beliefs, such as multiculturalism and assimilation. The book concludes by exploring productive ways of managing cultural diversity.

Written in an engaging style, Identity and Cultural Diversity will be essential reading for undergraduate and postgraduate students of social and cultural psychology and other social sciences, and it also makes key themes in social psychology accessible to a wider audience outside academia.

Table of Contents

1. The quest for Identity and Solidarity  2. A Jellyfish on the Beach: About Identity  3. Ethnic Discrimination and Social Validation  4. Identity Development and Duality  5. Blue and Brown Eyes  6. Multicultural Recognition  7. A Shared Sense of ‘We’  8. Conclusion: A Way Forward

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Maykel Verkuyten is a full professor in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He is also the academic director of the European Research Center on Migration and Ethnic Relations (ERCOMER).


Social psychology has plenty to offer in terms of resolving inter-group conflicts and helping achieve harmony in multicultural environments, and it is important to have a book like this that is grounded in the European experience of diversity. It will be of great interest to scholars and students with an interest in diversity and immigration. - Małgorzata Gocłowska, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This book examines issues of immigration and diversity from a social psychological perspective and does so in a clear and captivating way. The writing is concise and easy to follow, and this will make it ideal for undergraduate students studying identity and intergroup relations. It will also make very interesting reading for social scientists who study these issues, but have little background in psychology. - Kimberly Rios, Department of Psychology, Ohio University, USA

“The social psychological analysis that Verkuyten develops in this book offers the reader a comprehensive coverage of research and theory concerning social identity (including ethnic, national, and religious identities), discrimination, and multiculturalism, as well as the methodological strategies that social psychologists employ in their work.” -Kay Deaux, PhD, Social Psychologist, Professor Emerita, Graduate Center of the City University of New York