Increasing Intergroup Cooperation Toward Social Change by Restoring Advantaged and Disadvantaged Groups' Positive Identities


  • Nurit Shnabel
  • Johannes Ullrich


In this article, we develop a perspective on social change as cooperation between advantaged and disadvantaged groups to facilitate not only redistribution of power and wealth but also restoration of threatened identity dimensions. We argue that disadvantaged groups experience threats to their agency whereas advantaged groups experience threats to their morality. Restoration of these aspects of groups’ identities can unlock the potential for collective action among members of disadvantaged groups and for a greater willingness to change the status quo toward equality among members of advantaged groups. A major theoretical implication of these findings is that social psychological theorizing should pay greater attention to morally based motivations as critical factors in the facilitation of change. A prime practical implication is that interventions designed to improve intergroup relations should consider not only acceptance-related but also agency-related motivations (e.g., through a “common stigmatizers identity” re-categorization strategy).