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Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory

Contemporary Global Perspectives

  • Book
  • © 2016


  • Provides a strong theoretical framework for understanding intergroup conflict
  • Explores the role that self and group categorization play in conflict and peace
  • Contains applications for social identity theory in conflict situations around the world

Part of the book series: Peace Psychology Book Series (PPBS)

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About this book

This volume brings together perspectives on social identity and peace psychology to explore the role that categorization plays in both conflict and peace-building. To do so, it draws leading scholars from across the world in a comprehensive exploration of social identity theory and its application to some of the world’s most pressing problems, such as intrastate conflict, uprising in the middle east, the refugee crisis, global warming,  racism and peace building. A crucial theme of the volume is that social identity theory affects all of us, no matter whether we are currently in a state of conflict or one further along in the peace process.  

The volume is organized into two sections. Section 1 focuses on the development of social identity theory. Grounded in the pioneering work of Dr. Henri Tajfel, section 1 provides the reader with a historical background of the theory, as well as its current developments. Then, section 2 brings together a series of country case studies focusing on issues of identity across five continents.  This section enables cross-cultural comparisons in terms of methodology and findings, and encourages the reader to identify general applications of identity to the understanding of peace as well as applications that may be more relevant in specific contexts. Taken together, these two sections provide a contemporary and diverse account of the state of social identity research in conflict situations and peace psychology today.

 It is evident that any account of peace requires an intricate understanding of identity both as a cause and consequence of conflict, as well as a potential resource to be harnessed in the promotion and maintenance of peace. Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory: Contemporary Global Perspectives aims to help achieve such an understanding and as such is a valuable resource to those studying peace and conflict, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, public policy makers, and all those interested in the ways in which social identity impacts our world.

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Table of contents (24 chapters)

  1. Theoretical and Contemporary Issues

  2. Worldwide Perspectives

Editors and Affiliations

  • Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom

    Shelley McKeown

  • Department of Psychology, Laurentian University, Barrie, Canada

    Reeshma Haji

  • Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, United Kingdom

    Neil Ferguson

About the editors

 Shelley McKeown Jones is lecturer in the psychology of education at the University of Bristol. She teaches social psychology and research methods on the MSc Psychology of Education programme. Her research focuses on how social psychological theories, such as intergroup contact theory and social identity theory, can be used to understand and improve intergroup relations. Shelley has published a number of journal articles and a book on identity, segregation and peacebuilding in Northern Ireland.

Reeshma Haji (PhD. York University) is an assistant professor in psychology at Laurentian University. She teaches courses in social psychology and research design and also supervises undergraduate and graduate research. Her research focuses on intergroup relations of religious groups and minority group identities in diverse societies. Dr. Haji has published journal articles and book chapters that have applied social psychological perspectives to religiousidentity and interfaith relations.

 Neil Ferguson (D.Phil., Ulster, 1998) is Professor of Political Psychology at Liverpool Hope University. His research and writings deal with moral development and a number of topics located within political psychology. Professor Ferguson is currently the President of the MOSAIC - Moral and Social Action Interdisciplinary Colloquium and is a member of the Governing Council for the International Society of Political Psychology (ISPP). He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Moral Education and the Journal of Social and Political Psychology and is a trustee of the Journal of Moral Education Trust.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory

  • Book Subtitle: Contemporary Global Perspectives

  • Editors: Shelley McKeown, Reeshma Haji, Neil Ferguson

  • Series Title: Peace Psychology Book Series

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Behavioral Science and Psychology, Behavioral Science and Psychology (R0)

  • Copyright Information: Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-29867-2Published: 29 June 2016

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-80673-0Published: 31 May 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-29869-6Published: 17 June 2016

  • Series ISSN: 2197-5779

  • Series E-ISSN: 2197-5787

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XX, 387

  • Number of Illustrations: 11 b/w illustrations, 4 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Personality and Social Psychology, Cross Cultural Psychology, Social Policy

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