A Taxonomy of Intergroup Ideologies



This paper provides an analysis and a general taxonomy of intergroup ideologies, and presents a list of their indicators. This taxonomy is related to the eight ideologies that were originally outlined in the early works. These ideologies were created on the basis of three dimensions of intercultural relations: cultural maintenance; social participation; and relative power. The taxonomy of intergroup ideologies proposed here follows these three dimensions, which are related to two issues: (i) attitudes towards cultural diversity; and (ii) forms of inclusion of ethnocultural groups in the larger society (including the issue about the hierarchy among groups). It is possible to assess how these issues are solved using four indicators: (1) celebrating differences, (2) status of groups, (3) opportunity for social interaction, and (4) way to ensure the unity of society. Orientations to these indicators make it possible to understand what kind of intergroup ideologies covering intercultural attitudes and intergroup relations exist in countries and describe them.

General Information

Keywords: intergroup ideologies, cultural diversity, integration, segregation, assimilation, multicultur¬alism, colorblindness, interculturalism, polyculturalism, omniculturalism, cosmopolitanism

Journal rubric: Empirical Research

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/chp.2021170401

Funding. The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project № 20-18-00268).

Received: 18.08.2021


For citation: Grigoryev D.S., Berry J.W. A Taxonomy of Intergroup Ideologies. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2021. Vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 7–15. DOI: 10.17759/chp.2021170401.

Full text



One of the central issues on the current agenda for plural societies is: “How all cultural groups shall live together”? [7]. There are three features of plural societies that are important to understand: (1) the extent of cultural diversity in the society; (2) ideologies with respect to how to manage this diversity; and (3) public policy about managing such diversity. This paper considers these last two aspects: what are the ideologies and public policies about how to deal with the existing cultural diversity, in general internationally?

Over the course of history, many beliefs and views on cultural diversity have arisen, which can take shape instate policies and in intergroup ideologies. These policies and ideologies are comprised of beliefs, rules and norms about how members of all ethnocultural groups should relate to each other in a society. These intergroup policies and ideologies describe and influence the way intergroup relations are organized in culturally diverse societies [25].

Attention was first paid in psychology to the question of how different cultural groups in a plural society could or should relate to each by Berry, Kalin and Taylor (1977) [6]. They used the concept of multicultural ideology to identify one of the ways for these relations to take place. They proposed a number of ways of engaging in intercultural relations. These proposals were based on the combination of three issues: (i) the maintenance of heritage cultures and identities (the cultural diversity component); (ii) the full and equitable participation of all ethnocultural groups in the life of the larger society (the social equity component); and (iii) who has the power and authority to decide on how groups should relate with each other (the relative power component). The intersection of these three dimensions was used to identify eight ideologies, based on combinations of positive or negative orientations to them [1]. The current version of these ideologies is shown in Figure 1 from Berry (2003) [2].

On the left side are the orientations held by members of ethnocultural groups; on the right side are the views held by members of the larger society. Across the top is the maintenance of heritage cultures and identities dimension. Down the side is the equitable participation dimension. The difference between the two circles represents the third dimension: the relative power to decide. Orientations to these issues intersect to define eight strategies.

For members of non-dominant ethnocultural groups, when these individuals do not wish to maintain their cultural identity and seek daily interaction with other cultures, the assimilation strategy is defined. In contrast, when individuals place a high value on holding on to their original culture, and at the same time wish to avoid interaction with others, then the separation alternative is defined. When there is an interest in both maintaining ones original culture, while being in daily interactions with other groups, integration is the option. In this case, there is some degree of cultural integrity maintained, while at the same time seeking, as a member of an eth­nocultural group, to participate as an integral part of the larger social network. Finally, when there is little possibility or interest in cultural maintenance (often for reasons of enforced cultural loss), and little interest in having relations with others (often for reasons of exclusion or discrimination) then marginalization is defined.

The different terms used to describe the strategies of the dominant larger society are presented on the right side of Figure 1. These concern the ways that the larger society expects everyone to relate. If the dominant group expects assimilation, this is termed the melting pot. When separation is forced by the dominant group it is segregation. Marginalization, when imposed by the dominant group, is exclusion. Finally, for integration, when diversity and equity are widely accepted features of the society as a whole, it is called multiculturalism. With the use of these concepts and measures, comparisons can be made between the strategies and expectations used by individuals and their groups, and between non-dominant peoples and the larger society within which they are acculturating.

However, in most studies, no assessment is made of the acculturation strategies of members of dominant groups. To remedy this lack, recent work has gone beyond the study of the expectations that members of dominant groups have about how they prefer non-dominant group members to acculturate to examine their views about how they, themselves, prefer to acculturate in their increasingly diverse societies [18]. The question in these studies is the extent to which dominant group members wish to have contact with, and adopt aspects of, the non-dominant cultures.

Intergroup Ideologies

Since the initial presentation (Figure 1), many inter­group ideologies have been proposed in the literature, sometimes using the same dimensions and sometimes with similar names. The views captured by the terms multiculturalism, assimilation, and segregation in Figure 1 have been taken into these ideologies; however, no ideology has been advanced that corresponds to the concepts of exclusion/marginalization.

The eight ideologies that have been developed are: segregationism; assimilationism; multiculturalism; colorblindness; interculturalism; polyculturalism; omniculturalism; and cosmopolitainism. These various inter­group ideologies are not usually represented in their pure form in a society. Rather, in most cases, the ideologies are mixed or blended; they coexist, and one or another of its forms becomes dominant depending on socio-political conditions [13; 14]. In this paper, we distinguish among eight intergroup ideologies that are now widely studied and used. We begin with segregationism (SG) and assimilationism (AS), which are historically the first intergroup ideologies to be implicitly used to cope with cultural heterogeneity.


SG was one of the eight approaches that was in the original proposal [6], where it had two labels (separation and segregation), depending on which group was the focus. The view here seems to be that if group differences are the source of negative relations, the best policy is to keep groups away from each other. SG also argues that group differences are so great that it would be better for society if different cultural groups remained separate from each other [10; 15]. Today, the implementation of SG is rarelyan ideology, nor is it explicitly carried out anywhere. Most societies have abandoned policies that systematically exclude members of particular groups, and have enacted laws and developed norms that prohibit such exclusion. Nevertheless, these exclusionary practices continue to exist in day-to-day behaviors in domains such as employment, education, housing, and political rights.


AS was also one of the eight approaches that was in the original proposal, where it had two labels (assimilation and melting pot), depending on which group was the focus. These state policies that aimed at reducing cultural diversity and homogenizing the population can still be found [14]. AS prevailed until the 1960s in most settler societies (such as Australia, Canada and the US, and still in Israel); it reflects a preference for cultural uniformity and homogeneity. The view seems to be that if cultural differences are the basis for negative group relations, the solution is to eliminate or reduce such differences.

The influence of assimilation as an ideology can be seen even in research topics that were most popular in social psychology until the 1970s, such as the similarity­attraction paradigm: decades of research have shown that similarity breeds attraction. The implication is that, in accordance with assimilation, a culturally homogeneous society should ensure harmonious intergroup relationships, as evidenced by some strategies for reducing bias based on intergroup contact. Thus, AS presupposes the disappearance of group differences, so society becomes more homogeneous and cohesive. In addition, the assimilation of minorities includes their adaptation to the lifestyle of the majority group, so there is great continuity and stability in the ‘core’ of society. It also includes the adoption of the lifestyle of the majority, leading to the melting pot, which involves the fusion of all of the different minority and majority groups. The results in a transformed common ‘mainstream’ culture that continues to change as new groups emerge. In both cases, AS promotes cultural homogeneity by incorporating minorities as part of a pre-existing cultural group before members of minority groups can fully participate in large society [22].


Multiculturalism was also one of the original eight proposed ideologies. Multiculturalism (MC) as a state policy was first developed in the Canadian policy of multiculturalism in 1971, as an alternative to the longstanding emphasis on assimilation and/or segregation that had been advocated in Canada for immigrants, eth­nocultural groups, and indigenous peoples [3]. MC has largely replaced AS (as well as SG) as the dominant approach to managing cultural diversity in many societies. The key features of MC are the recognition, maintenance, and celebration of group differences. The ideology includes the belief that when everyone’s culture can be made secure by its acceptance and promotion, positive intergroup relations will result. That is, unlike AS where cultures are threatened, or SG where cultures are placed outside participation, MC accepts and incorporates them as integral parts of the larger society.

One way to achieve this incorporation is by using the principle of laissez-faire, which assumes that the state allows social forces to determine the way in which group differences are recognized, maintained, and rewarded. This is what takes place in the USA, and in some other settler societies. Another way is MC that is planned and promoted; this involves more direct state intervention in the process of recognizing, preserving, and supporting group differences. This is the case in Australia and Canada, where MC is the official policy. MC argues that attention should be paid to ethnicity and race, because prejudice arises in part from insufficient knowledge and recognition of other groups, and that prejudice can be reduced by recognizing, examining, and accepting differences between cultural groups [14].

MC is seen in many ways as the opposite of AS. Various cultural and civil rights movements have drawn attention to the rights of marginalized or non-dominant racial and ethnic groups to preserve their own culture and to recognize and respect those cultures. Therefore, the definitions and goals of MC are that race and ethnicity should be paid attention to (and not ignored), that cultures of virtually all racial and ethnic groups are equally important (that is, some cultures are not superior to others), and everyone in society is not obliged to share common culture for all [14; 27].

These two features of MC (diversity and equity) have remained central to the Canadian policy since its inception. However, most recently the incorporation of everyone into a Canadian civic society has come to the fore with an emphasis on common citizenship for all. This shift as going from ethnicity MC (with a focus on cultural diversity), to equity MC (focus on equitable participation), to civic MC (focus on society-building and inclusiveness), and to integrative MC (focus on identification with Canada, and full incorporation of cultural groups into the larger Canadian society) [9].

However, MC can take different forms and include different elements to varying degrees. First, MC can simply be aimed at exploring cultural differences between different racial and ethnic groups and drawing attention to them in order to understand the lives, experiences, and perspectives of others (a form of ‘the importance of differences’). MC can also take the form of teaching the value of the contribution of different groups to a culturally diverse society, which, through such an overview, is able to solve problems more effectively (the ‘value of the contribution’ form of MC). Finally, MC can include an emphasis on groups that maintain their own culture and traditions, such as immigrants in a new country or on non-dominant groups, in direct opposition to AS [27; 28].

Some researchers also distinguish between a positive version of MC (recognizing and maintaining differences to create a strong, culturally diverse community) and a negative version (which is seen as a form of SG, in which different groups in society are so different that integrating them all into a single whole is problematic) [24; 27]. Another similarity with SG that has been proposed is that MC is a form of ‘divide and conquer’ by which cultural groups are kept separate, creating a host of ‘parallel societies’ (“State multiculturalism has failed, says David Cameron” — https://www.bbc.com/news/ uk-politics-12371994).

Moreover, it is important to understand what is meant in the literature by MC (conceptualization) and how MC was measured (operationalization), e.g., some measures had only about 27% common variance [see 26]. Also, in contrast to Berry and Kalin’s Multicultural Ideology Scale (1995) [5], the operationalization of MC often covers only the attitude towards cultural diversity and omits the dimension of social participation [cf. 26; 31]. Different conceptualizations, operationalizations, and levels of analysis can complicate the interpretation of findings on MC [12].

In sum, MC is an intergroup ideology that strongly supports both cultural diversity, (advocating for the preservation of the culture of the heritage of immigrants and minorities) and also supports their full and equitable participation (while not requiring them to accept the culture of dominant groups as a precondition for full participation in society). It also supports the right of each group to decide whether they maintain their culture and to participate as culturally distinct communities. In other words, the ideology of MC is defined by: a positive attitude towards cultural groups (that is, a recognition of categorical differences, combined with a desire to preserve these differences in order to build a strong plural society); their full and equitable participation in the daily life of the larger society; and confirms their power to make these decisions. MC ideology contrasts strongly with AS (which does not value cultural differences) and with SG (which does not value their participation).


A fourth ideology is that of colorblindness (CB). This is related to AS, although they differ in some fundamental ways, and is the opposite of MC. Initially, CB assumed that bias against minorities stems from people’s inappropriate and superficial emphasis on group categories (such as race), and therefore this bias can be reduced by reducing the emphasis on group membership (such as by ignoring group differences). While CB is an ideology that depreciates group categories by emphasizing similarities (as for assimilation), it can also be implemented by emphasizing individual differences (e.g., “every person is unique”). In this vein, this approach is based on the principle of treating people as individuals, which is reflected in such popular sayings as “you cannot judge a book by its cover” [14].

Thus, as with MC, CB can exist in three different forms: ‘similarity’, ‘preconditions for assimilation’, and ‘uniqueness’ [27]. The assumptions that race or ethnicity should not matter regardless of race or ethnicity, and that all people are the same, means that we should not classify people by ethnicity or race. It also means that there are clear conceptual grounds that distinguish CB (implying attempts to ignore group differences through decategorization) from AS (implying effort to reduce group differences through recategorization). Another reason why CB should not be confused with AS is that it implies an egalitarian orientation: everyone should be treated equally, which means equality without cultural differences (e.g., republicanism, meritocracy) [14; 25]. In other words, CB is defined by the desire to avoid categorical differences, going beyond ethnicity or race, and viewing people as individuals rather than as members of their ethnic or racial categories.

CB is also defined as an ideology in which non-dominant group members are responded to positively and benevolently. In contrast, AS devalues the qualities of the non-dominant group, and seeks their elimination. AS states that ‘we all shall be the same’, and this sameness will be determined by the norms of the dominant group. Non-dominant group members will be treated fairly and without reference to their membership in the category, only if they are fully prepared to assimilate with the culture of the dominant group [10; 31].


Interculturalism (IC) is a special rethinking of AS and MC. What distinguishes IC from AS is a positive view of the value of cultural diversity to society. IC (as for MC) also aims to value both cultural diversity and the full participation of non-dominant groups in the larger society. The contrasting of IC with MC by the proponents of IC is based on their claims that they have something new to say. However, while rejecting MC, the IC proponents do not recognize that MC has both cultural maintenance and social participation in the ideology; it is not only maintenance. However, what does distinguish IC from MC is that IC promotes the idea of prioritizing and maintaining the culture of the national society, making a nod to the language and cultural values of the dominant group (the ‘mainstream’). This difference between IC and MC lies in the higher group status that is given to the culture of the majority group in a society. In contrast to IC, MC rejects the notion of a single majority ‘mainstream’ culture, and promotes a form of egalitarian pluralism that gives all cultural groups equal rights. IC, in contrast, is a form of hierarchical pluralism [28]. For example, in the Canadian context, IC is promoted in Quebec, which includes provisions for the official state language (French) and a set of social values that protects the culture of the Quebec minority as the dominant group in that province.

IC promotes three interrelated components: inter­group dialogue; identity flexibility; and the promotion of a sense of unity in the society. First, according to IC proponents, MC includes a ‘groupness’ that some observers claim can lead to ‘parallel societies’ or segregation. In contrast, the emphasis in IC is on the importance of dialogue and interaction, which are considered to be critical to the development of harmonious intergroup relations in a plural society. Second, according to IC proponents, MC tends to prioritize the recognition of singular ‘origin’ identities (such as “Chechen”, “Irish” or “Arab”) and the promotion of ‘pure’ forms of identity, and the strengthening of essentialism. In contrast according to IC proponents, IC recognizes multiple and flexible identities with an increasing number of bicultural individuals, dual identifiers, hybrid identities, and mixed races, and therefore focuses on the development of cohesive civil societies by transforming concepts of single identities into concepts of multiple [30]. Nevertheless, this contrast between MC and IC seems biased.

Third, while MC emphasizes the value of recognizing relatively separate and stable minority ethnocultural identities, IC focuses on developing a common understanding of these differences. Proponents of IC argue that MC places too much emphasis on differences and what divides groups, while ignoring what unites groups, thereby encouraging disunity and fragmentation. In contrast, IC claims that a superordinate identity is a central category against the background of cultural differences between subgroups; this feature determines the hierarchical orientation of IC. In short, IC emphasizes the belief that, along with cultural differences, it is important to develop a sense of unity and shared belonging for community cohesion [30].


Historians have identified the ideology of polyculturalism (PC), which suggests that bias stems in part from people’s lack of knowledge of, and attention to, historical and contemporary interactions between different racial and ethnic groups [26]. These intercultural relations also lack a focus on the past (more) and present (to a lesser extent) connections between groups that are capable of solving this problem of bias. Various racial and ethnic groups have exchanged ideas and influenced each other throughout history.

PC, as well as MC and IC, involves the recognition of cultural diversity and has a positive attitude towards it, but instead of focusing on differences between different cultural groups, it focuses on the multiple connections between groups due to past and present interactions and mutual influences. This does not mean similarities, as for CB, but rather the related backgrounds of the different racial and ethnic groups that have shaped these cultures and groups. PC insists that there are no “pure” cultures belonging to specific racial or ethnic groups (culture is a continuous and not a discrete quantity and it is not clear where one ends and the other begins), and that culture should not be understood or used as a way of dividing and differentiating between groups, which may inadvertently be facilitated by the emphasis in MC on group differences. In contrast, PC emphasizes that all cultures and people are in fact the products of historical and contemporary interactions between many different racial and ethnic groups, all deeply connected to people from other cultures through a common, ever-intersecting history and a common and changeable biological origin.

The various forms of PC are not yet well understood, but it can take the form of an emphasis on positive interactions and mutual influences between groups (i.e., the process and outcomes of acculturation). These changes have led to improvements in technology, knowledge, and science, and to the formation and sharing of well-known cultural products such as music, dance, and favorite food. They also may lead to emphasizing negative interactions between groups and how they have influenced history and current societies. While focusing only on negative interactions can heighten intergroup hostility, it is also possible that focusing only on positive interactions can be viewed as superficial [26; 27].

PC also shares some similarities with IC in that both have a less static view of culture. But, PC differs from IC by emphasizing interaction and interconnectedness, which is measured in terms of the existence of cultural ties and mutual cultural influences in the past. Moreover, PC does not contain the prescriptive normative expectations (“shoulds”) inherent in IC, and does not imply the belief that an orientation towards unity and flexibility of identity are necessary conditions for creating harmonious intergroup relations [30]. Indeed, it can mean that as intergroup ideology PC only focuses on the attitude towards cultural diversity and does not provide any clear view on the participation of eth­nocultural groups in the life of the larger society.


The main goal of omniculturalism (OC) is to achieve a society bound by universal human values. This ideology also indicates a hierarchical orientation, in that ethnic cultures are secondary to universal human values. This goal should be achieved through educational efforts, by teaching children to emphasize traits and characteristics common to all people, and asking people to focus on common human characteristics when interacting with members of the outgroup [21]. According to the OC, common grounds must come from the discoveries of empirical psychology and Kantian ethical principles. After focusing on such a ‘common humanity’, attention should also be paid to ethnic identity and more specific cultural values. This combination of commonality and specificity is precisely what dual identity theorists suggest: identification with a superior category combined with recognition of local identity. It also corresponds to the concept of ‘universalism’ as defined in cross-cultural psychology: all peoples share common basic psychological processes, but develop and express them differently as a result of cultural experiences [8]. From this perspective, people must first acknowledge and prioritize what they have in common with all others in their society, and then in a second step, focus on their particular group culture. This involves a two-stage process of socialization of individuals: in the first stage, the emphasis is on the unifying common; in the second stage, intergroup differences and identities are introduced. Thus, the aim of OC is to create a solid foundation for unity between people within the framework of primary common identity, before emphasizing that people also belong to groups that are different from each other in some respects. The first phase of OC parallels the characterization of the ‘community of cultures’ of PC. However, while OC focuses on the universals of human behavior established by research, PC focuses on patterns of social interaction and mutual influence, that is, on patterns that are often rooted in the historical past [22, 23].


The last intergroup ideology is cosmopolitism (CP). Research in other fields, such as philosophy, political science, and sociology, has linked cosmopolitanism to adherence to universalist values and mutual respect between different groups, greater freedom, and egalitarianism. Analyzing the literature on CP, psychologists have proposed three main features of a cosmopolitan orientation: respect for cultural diversity; cultural openness, and global pro­sociality [20]. Respect for cultural diversity means recognizing cultural differences; and includes values such as tolerance and respect between different groups, as well as advocating for the maintenance of cultural diversity.

Cultural openness means intellectual sensitivity to the opinions of other cultures; that is, people with a CP orientation tend to learn from other cultures, are open to new ideas, and seek to broaden their horizons. CP is defined as an openness to cultural differences and a willingness to interact with people from other cultures.

Global prosociality refers to the conviction to promote justice and equal treatment regardless of ethnicity and nationality of people, to recognize fundamental human rights throughout the world, to defend universal morality, and to reject social domination and inequality, and fundamental human rights universally applicable to everyone in the world [20]. Thus, CP is more like an individual strategy for coping with cultural diversity; if MC describes the processes of transformation at the level of society, then CP starts from the self-actualization and development of individuals.

Taxonomy of Intergroup Ideologies

The taxonomy of intergroup ideologies proposed here is related to the eight original ideologies that were outlined in the introduction on the basis of three dimensions (cultural maintenance, social participation, and relative power) and that followed these three dimensions to address two issues: (i) attitudes towards cultural diversity; and (ii) forms of inclusion of ethnocultural groups in the larger society (including the issue of hierarchy among groups).

Based on the descriptions and analyses of the similarities and differences among the ideologies presented above, it is possible to assess how these issues are addressed using four indicators: (1) celebrating differences, (2) status ofgroups, (3) opportunity for social interaction, and (4) way to ensure the unity of society.

Intergroup ideologies include both a socially constructed superstructure (which creates and conveys social ideas about the organization of a particular society) and a motivational substructure (epistemological, existential, and relational motives), which in general constitutes a general system of beliefs about how society should function. These, in turn, provide a cognitive
framework for interpreting the social environment. Each of the ideologies of intergroup relations is based on different principles of categorization that differentiate the social world of a person in accordance with them [11]. The distinction between personal beliefs (mental representations) and beliefs prevalent in culture (cultural representations) may be necessary to understand the effects of intergroup ideologies and the variation of these effects in different contexts [14; 19]. For example, textbooks can be considered as an important source of cultural representations of different ethnocultural groups [17].

In theoretical terms, when considering intercultural relations, it is necessary to differentiate intergroup attitudes along several axes at once, which go beyond the simple issue of attitude towards cultural diversity, or attitudes towards specific ethnocultural groups. Issues about group positions (social status and relative power) and group security (absence of discrimination and subjugation) are also essential here.

In practical terms, an articulated intergroup ideology, like any other ideology in its motivational (or functional) aspect, should: (1) provide solidarity including shared reality; (2) ensure security; and (3) offer certainty [see 16]. It can be reached by eliminating intergroup threats, status-based antagonism and a high level of inequality, and by forming a positive civic identity, integrating all other social identities in a consistent manner. Providing solidarity, ensuring security, and offering certainty are components of various forms of inclusion of ethnocultural groups in the larger society.

In sum, the present analysis provides a basis for the elaboration of a general taxonomy of intergroup ideologies on two issues: (1) attitude towards cultural diversity and (2) forms of inclusion (either egalitarian or hierarchical) of ethnocultural groups in the larger society. The division of intergroup ideologies on these two issues suggests the taxonomy presented in Table 1.

This taxonomy of intergroup ideologies is structured according to these issues. The first issue is the attitude toward cultural diversity (across the top). On this dimension there are three intergroup ideologies, divided into those that: (1) accept cultural diversity (MC, CP, IC, SG, PC); (2) ignore cultural diversity (CB, OC); and (3) reject cultural diversity (AS and exclusion/marginalization). The second issue refers to the forms of inclusion and incorporates the dimension of the feature of the relative status or power of groups as well, divided into those that are: (1) egalitarian forms of inclusion (MC, CP, CB); (2) hierarchical forms of inclusion (IC, OC, AS); and (3) do not imply any positive strategy of inclusion (SG, PC, exclusion/marginalization). SG and marginalization/exclu- sion have a hierarchical character, where the decision is taken by dominant groups to exclude non-dominant ones (for SG) or to exclude them and as well as to reject their cultures (for marginalization/exclusion). Note that marginalization fits into this taxonomy, but so far no ideology corresponding to it has been advanced. While such an ideology implicitly exists in the general population and is expressed by far-right political parties, but so far it has not been articulated by researchers, nor formally studied.

Egalitarian acceptance of cultural diversity can be both through the group level (MC) and the individual (CP). In addition, any positive form of inclusion in SG and PC is not expected. Since SG, on the contrary, is aimed at isolating different cultural groups (i.e., rejection of inclusion). And PC, due to its non-essentialist view, does not even touch on this issue, since all cultures are a product of a common history, which in this regard, assumes a completely different view of group affiliation.

Further analysis of the proposed intergroup ideologies contributes to the identification of some of their essential common elements, which make it possible to name the indicators in a specific country context. There are four indicators of these differences in intergroup ideologies:

(1)    The first indicator concerns celebrating differences, whichreflects the degree of tolerance for differences, as well as the provision of an opportunity to maintain and develop different and distinct cultures.

(2)    The second indicator is status of groups, including and the granting of equal rights (i.e., intercultural asymmetry in rights).

(3)    The third indicator is the opportunity for social interaction. Providing opportunities for contacts between groups includes the absence of isolationism, conflict, and intergroup threats, and provides opportunities for dialogue. It takes into account the degree of essen­tialism and flexibility of identities. For example, if there are insurmountable boundaries between cultural groups, such as how much they differ, and how conflictual and dangerous these differences are.

(4)  The fourth indicator is whether there is a way to ensure the unity of society. Is there the presence of a vision of a common identity and a solution to the issue of how different cultural groups live together within the framework of one society? Are there specific national policies, norms, and practices of pluralism that promote national unity?  

In this framework, celebrating differences is the only and key indicator for the issue of attitude towards cultural diversity. And status of groups, opportunity for social interaction, and way to ensure the unity of society are indicators of forms of inclusion of ethnocultural groups in the larger society, performing the functions of providing solidarity, ensuring security, and offering certainty in plural societies.

These identified indicators of intergroup ideologies allow us to develop a research program to analyze the intergroup ideology in a particular country. To analyze intergroup ideologies in a country’s context, it is necessary to answer the following questions:

— Celebrating differences: What is the degree of tolerance for differences in a country? Are there opportunities to maintain and develop different cultures in a country?

— Status of groups: What is the view of group positions (i.e., group statuses, are there any dominant and privileged groups) and the granting of equal rights to different cultural groups in a country?

— Opportunity for social interaction: What are the opportunities for intergroup contact in a country? What is the level of mutual positive intergroup attitudes (i.e., intercultural adaptation) and the potential for intercultural conflict relations in a country? In what forms are opportunities for intercultural dialogue offered? Are there insurmountable boundaries between cultural groups (i.e., essentialist beliefs), how much are these cultural groups different (i.e., cultural distance)?

— Way to ensure the unity of society: What is the view of the common identity in a country? What are the current national policies and existing norms and practices regarding the cultural diversity of a country?

The analysis should be sensitive to the different contexts in which they are examined: national states (e.g., Germany, Denmark); immigrant/settler countries (e.g., Canada, the US); conglomerate countries (e.g., Russia, Indonesia); newly independent states (e.g., Azerbaijan, Georgia); or post-colonial states (e.g., Republic of South African, Morocco). Answers to these questions make it possible to understand what kind of intergroup ideology exists in the country and describe it.

This is similar to the Banting and Kymlick’s Multicultural Policy Index (see https://www.queensu.ca/ mcp/), which assesses multiculturalism policies and practices regarding immigrant minorities (e.g., affirmative action, bilingual education, dual citizenship), national minorities (e.g., territorial autonomy, official language status, guaranteed representation), and indigenous peoples (e.g., distinct status as nations, land rights, customary law) in 21 contemporary democracies. However, we have proposed some indicators that are more related to intercultural attitudes and intergroup relations than policies and practices.

Moreover, these indicators are related to a revised version of the Multicultural Ideology Scale (MCI-r), which is currently being developed to measure endorsement of multiculturalism in different cultural contexts [29]. The measure aims to cover several attitudinal dimensions of multiculturalism, relevant to the integration of different ethnocultural groups: Cultural Maintenance, Equity/Inclusion, Social Interaction, Essentialistic Boundaries, Extent of Differences, and Consequences of Diversity. Three new components of the measure (Essentialistic Boundaries, Extent of Differences, Consequences of Diversity) were added to those that were originally developed in Canada to assess attitudes towards multiculturalism [5]. These components correspond to core aspects of the proposed indicators: celebrating differences and Cultural Maintenance; status of groups and Equity/Inclusion; opportunity for social interaction and Social Interaction, Essentialistic Boundaries, Extent of Differences, and Consequences of Diversity.


Research on intergroup ideologies has increased in recent decades, as a concern for how to understand and manage cultural diversity has increased. More diversity has been documented in many societies; policy shifts have taken place in response to these changes in diversity, and in public attitudes. It is essential for such research to continue, indeed be increased. Our proposed taxonomy of specific in­tergroup ideologies could provide a guide for this research.







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Information About the Authors

Dmitry S. Grigoryev, PhD in Psychology, Research Fellow, Center of Socio-Cultural Research, HSE University, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4511-7942, e-mail: dgrigoryev@hse.ru

John W. Berry, PhD in Psychology, rofessor Emeritus, Queen’s University, Research Professor, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Kingston, Canada, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2587-2879, e-mail: elderberrys@gmail.com



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