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Research Article

Citizenship, Participation and Identity Construction: Political Mobilization amongst British Muslims

Authors:

Nick Hopkins ,

Department of Psychology, University of Dundee, Scotland, DD1 4HN, GB
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Steve Reicher,

University of St. Andrews, Scotland, GB
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Vered Kahani-Hopkins

University of Dundee, Scotland, GB
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Abstract

Recent thinking on the topic of citizenship addresses the diversity to be found in contemporary societies. In so doing, it draws attention to issues raised by the assertion of group identities. Correspondingly, developing conceptions of citizenship move beyond considerations of individuals’ legal rights and obligations, and highlight the importance of exploring the processes by which collective rights are asserted. This puts the issue of identity and identity-related action centre stage. In this paper we develop a social psychological perspective on collective identity and action that contributes to these developments. Using data gathered from Muslims living in Britain, we explore the arguments taking place within this community concerning their relations with the non-Muslim majority (especially as manifested in a debate concerning participation in UK General Elections). We show that Muslim identity is a site of contestation with different identity constructions being advanced by those seeking to organise divergent forms of claims-making and collective action. More specifically, we show how contrasting forms of action (designed to bring about different social relations) are advanced through different invocations of Prophetic example when Muslims were social and numerical minorities. Overall, we hope to illustrate the importance of conceiving of identities as constructed in the context of articulating, and mobilising support for, political claims.

How to Cite: Hopkins, N., Reicher, S. and Kahani-Hopkins, V., 2003. Citizenship, Participation and Identity Construction: Political Mobilization amongst British Muslims. Psychologica Belgica, 43(1-2), pp.33–54. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb.1001
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Published on 01 Jan 2003.
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