Collective Narcissism: Antecedents and Consequences of Exaggeration of the In-Group Image

  • Agnieszka Golec de ZavalaEmail author


Collective narcissism is a tendency to exaggerate an in-group’s importance and desire for its external recognition. The concept was coined to help explain the mass support for the Nazi politics in Germany. Recently, several successful populist campaigns were based on collective narcissistic calls for revival of national purity, uniqueness, and greatness. This chapter reviews research on collective narcissism to elucidate why collective narcissism is robustly associated with hypersensitivity to intergroup threat and intergroup hostility. Collective narcissism is differentiated from (a) nationalism (i.e., a desire for national supremacy) based on its approach to in-group’s vulnerability, (b) in-group satisfaction (i.e., feeling proud to be a member of a valuable group) based on its approach to in-group’s membership, and (c) individual narcissism (i.e., exaggerated self-image dependent on admiration of others) based on its means to fulfill self-entitlement. Collective narcissism is associated with retaliatory intergroup hostility over and above other predictors such as nationalism, blind patriotism, right wing authoritarianism, or social dominance orientation. It is associated with exaggerated responses to in-group criticism, conspiratorial thinking, and a tendency to perceive the in-group as threatened by external hostility. It is predicted by low self-esteem via vulnerable narcissism (i.e., frustrated and unfulfilled sense of self-entitlement). Thus, the reviewed research suggests that collective narcissists engage in intergroup hostility to protect their vulnerable self-worth invested in in-group’s exaggerated greatness.


Collective narcissism Intergroup hostility In-group satisfaction Nationalism 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Goldsmiths, University of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesPoznańPoland
  3. 3.Instituto Universitário de Lisboa ISCTE-IUL, Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Social (CIS-IUL)LisboaPortugal

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