Social identity and intergroup relations: the case of alevis and sunnis in Amasya

Akbaş, Gülçin
The aim of the current thesis was to investigate the relationship between Alevis and Sunnis through the lenses of Social Identity Theory, Social Dominance Theory, and Contact Hypothesis to understand whether they see the current situation stable and legitimate, and perceive discrimination. It was expected that Alevis and Sunnis will differ in ingroup identifications, social dominance orientations, quantity, and quality of intergroup contact, perception of legitimacy and stability, and perceived discrimination against their ingroup. Moreover, the relationship between the dimensions of religious group identification, social dominance orientation, social contact and legitimacy, stability, and perceived discrimination is expected to differ between groups. The sample was consisted of 157 Sunni and 172 Alevi participants living in Amasya, Turkey. Participants completed a questionnaire package including the measures of religious identification, social dominance orientation, social contact, legitimacy, stability, and perceived discrimination. Results revealed that there were significant differences between Alevis and Sunnis in public religious identity, alienated religious identity, opposition to equality, contact quality, perceived legitimacy of the group status, and perception of discrimination directed against ingroup and outgroup. Moreover, religious group identification and social dominance orientation significantly predicted the perception of legitimacy and stability in both Alevi and Sunni groups. Examination of the associations among the major variables revealed that the relationship between perceived discrimination and ingroup identification was slightly stronger for Alevi group compared to Sunni group. The power of group based dominance was stronger than opposition to equality in predicting the perception of discrimination, especially for the Sunni group. Finally, intergroup contact, especially the quality of contact, had a positive effect on intergroup relations. Considering that this thesis is the first attempt to empirically examine the fundamental social psychological processes underlying the Alevi issue in Turkey, findings were discussed on basis of sociological and political aspects as well as previous work in Western cultures.


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Citation Formats
G. Akbaş, “Social identity and intergroup relations: the case of alevis and sunnis in Amasya,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.