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Factors Linked to Identification with a Super-Ordinate Category in a Multi-Ethnic Context: The Case of Mauritius

C Ng Tseung-Wong


This study explored the factors that influence identification with the ethnic and the national categories in the multiethnic context of Mauritius. Identification was assessed mainly in cognitive and affective terms.  Psychological and material gains of membership within the categories, along with dimensions of status and  treatment-power of the ethnic category, were proposed as related to the identification process. In order to measure these aspects a questionnaire was administered to 116 Mauritian female high school students. Results of factor analysis indicated that identification with the national and ethnic categories occurred along the proposed dimensions. Multiple regression analyses suggested that factors linked to identification with a super-ordinate category were related more to personal variables than to status differentiation and distribution of resources. These results are discussed with reference to the Common Ingroup Identity model (Gaertner et al, 1993), Breakwell’s (1986) Identity Process theory and factors specific to the social context.

Keywords: ethnic identity, national identity and identification