The Moderating Role of Group Identification in Perceptions of Diversity—Exemplified by a Vignette Analysis of Diversely Characterized Muslims in Germany

  • Coskun CananEmail author


This paper explores the role of in-group identification of the members of the majority group in relation with the recognition of diverse Muslims in German society. It claims that comprehensive recognition does not only depend on the Muslims’ achievement of skills and acquirement of characteristics that are associated with the majority society. The crucial factor for accepting diversity is the identification of the perceivers with his own group. To investigate this hypothesis, the paper uses representative secondary data from a vignette experiment employed in a telephone survey in Germany. In particular, it examines perceptions of Christian respondents with low and high group identification regarding a hypothetical situation in which a Muslim or a Christian person marries into the respondent’s family. Among the respondents with low group identification, the Muslim category loses relevance when the person in question is a woman and is combined with the achievement category of volunteering at the retirement home. Differences in evaluations of a Muslim woman and an identically characterized Christian woman disappear completely. When the person in question is a man, none of the used vignette variables work to change the perception of the Muslim person and differences in evaluations of a Muslim man and identically characterized Christian man remain. The results have practical implications for understanding integration as a one-sided process of adaptation to the norms and values of the majority society solely carried out by migrant or minority groups. Results are discussed and suggestions for further research are made.


Migration and integration Social identity Diversity Survey experiment Vignette 



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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Center for Integration and Migration ResearchHumboldt University to BerlinBerlinGermany

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