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date: 28 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

The psychology of group identification is central to the study of political behavior. The conditions under which group identities become politicized, the psychology underlying this process, and the consequences of political identities for political cohesion and engagement are the subject of this chapter. The first section is devoted to a definition of political identity and a discussion of key theoretical approaches to the study of group-based political cohesion. The second section focuses on the conditions, including strong identities and grievances, that generate group-based political cohesion. The third section deals with emotions as a catalyst for group-based political action. The final section examines the development of political identity. Overall, the chapter makes clear that strong, subjective identities are central to the development of political cohesion, a conclusion drawn from research on diverse topics including partisanship, patriotism, and ethnic and racial politics.

Keywords: social identity, intergroup relations, political cohesion, public opinion, collective action, identity development, group threat

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