The Past Lies in the Present: A Social Psychological Investigation of History and Identity

Akarsu, Albina Sıla
Identities are one of the most important features of human beings and they affect our lives. In the literature, it is suggested that history determines a way which provides the guideline for the basis of group’s identity as well as the relationships with other groups. As a form of national identity, collective narcissism is defined as unrealistic belief of an individual about the exaggerated greatness of an in-group and it predicts out-group derogation, collective schadenfreude, and perceived threat from out-group especially for out-groups with a history of competition or mutual grievances. However, although it is related with history representations which reflect glorification and source of pride, collective narcissism has never been studied along with history representations. Hence, the aim of the present study is to understand whether there is a relationship between importance attributed to different versions of history and national identity. Three hundred and forty participants who define themselves as Turkish participated in the study and they indicated the historical events of Turkish Republic which they see as important before they completed Turkish Identification Scale, Collective Narcissism Scale, and Multicultural Ideology Scale. The factor analysis indicated three categories of historical event preferences: glorified past, history of the Republic, and recent (critical) history. The importance given to glorified past was predicted by political orientation, conservatism, collective narcissism and Turkish national identification. Importance given to the history of the Republic was only predicted by national identification whereas the single predictor for emphasizing recent (critical) history was multiculturalism support. All in all, the results showed that how we evaluate our past is related to how we define ourselves today, in terms of varying identities. 
Citation Formats
A. S. Akarsu, “The Past Lies in the Present: A Social Psychological Investigation of History and Identity,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2017.