bs_bs_banner Political Psychology, Vol. 0, No. 0, 2020 doi: 10.1111/pops.12695 The Power of Political Déjà Vu: When Collective Action Becomes an Effort to Change the Future by Preventing the Return of the Past Maria Chayinska Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Craig McGarty Western Sydney University This article examines the conditions under which political déjà vu (PDV), a perceived analogy between past and present societal-level traumatic events, can mobilize people to support system-changing collective action.

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bs_bs_banner Political Psychology, Vol. 0, No. 0, 2020 doi: 10.1111/pops.12695 The Power of Political Déjà Vu: When Collective Action Becomes an Effort to Change the Future by Preventing the Return of the Past Maria Chayinska Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Craig McGarty Western Sydney University This article examines the conditions under which political déjà vu (PDV), a perceived analogy between past and present societal-level traumatic events, can mobilize people to support system-changing collective action. We propose that individuals’ perceptions of PDV can evolve both social identification with a group that sustains the victimized and disidentification with the perceived perpetrators. We further suggest that disidentification and identification can form two distinct psychological paths to collective action through the sequential effects of moral outrage and collective efficacy beliefs. We tested these ideas in a cross-sectional field study (N = 272) in the context of antigovernment protests over a missing activist in Argentina, a country with a legacy of enforced disappearances. The findings demonstrated that perceiving two events from different times as similar simultaneously predicted identifying as a supporter of the victimized and disidentifying with the perceived wrongdoer. Disidentification was found to predict collective action intentions through the sequential effect of collective efficacy beliefs and moral outrage, whereas the indirect effect of social identification was nonsignificant. Results provide an intriguing example of the effects of perceived PDV in social mobilization and extend our understanding of disidentification as a powerful predictor of collective action. KEY WORDS: social injustice, collective action, historical victimization, disidentification, identification, collective efficacy With the individual as with the group, the past is continually re-made, reconstructed as a function of present interests. (Frederic Bartlett, 1932, p. 309) On August 1, 2017, Argentine activist Santiago Maldonado went missing after police intervened to disperse an indigenous Mapuche protest in Patagonia in which he took part (Vivanco, 2017). The last that is known of Maldonado, as witnessed by local community members, is that he was captured by the federal border police. To many political observers this case recalled the mass forced disappearances that occurred under Argentina’s military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983, even though the country now has a democratically elected government (e.g., Goñi, 2017; Mander, 2017). The 1 0162-895X © 2020 International Society of Political Psychology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, and PO Box 378 Carlton South, 3053 Victoria, Australia 2 Chayinska and Mcgarty military junta was infamous for carrying out a systematic campaign of repression against Argentine citizens who were labeled as dissidents, in which around 30,000 persons are believed to have disappeared after being seized by security forces (see, e.g., Cavallaro & Brewer, 2008). The link between the Maldonado Case and Los Desaparecidos (translated from Spanish as “disappeared”) of the past is contentious. However, this historical analogy was heavily employed by some politicians, including Argentina’s (then) opposition leader Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who accused the government of Mauricio Macri of silencing social and political dissidents and spreading terror throughout civil society (Goñi, 2017; Pardo, 2017). On August 26, 2017, Kirchner, who was known for her ongoing support of social justice movements such as the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo (the movement of Argentine mothers who campaigned for their missing children), posted an emotional message in her official Twitter account, in which she alluded to the missing protester as her own son (Pardo, 2017). The politician said she could not see her “son’s face on a mural” referring to the omnipresent murals and graffiti, serving as emblems of Argentina’s “missing children” (Gleeson, 2013). A few days after, tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets in cities across the country to demand the safe return of the missing activist (e.g., Krishnamoorthy, 2017). The demands on their posters were worded in the precisely same way as those 40 years ago when family members and activists struggled to find people who “disappeared” during Argentina’s Dirty War (Pardo, 2017). The large nation-wide social movement for Santiago Maldonado lasted for almost two months, before he was found dead in the Chubut river in Patagonia (Knipp, 2017). The present research is situated within this context; the aim is to explore whether perceiving the analogy between past and present societal-level dire events can mobilize people for system-changing collective action. Although the social movement around the Maldonado case may be a unique case, the psychological processes that drive people’s political collective action in the context of repeated historical victimization may follow a similar pattern. Take, for instance, the rise of recent social movements like the “Black Lives Matter” (e.g., Leach & Allen, 2017) or Indigenous resistance movements (e.g., Droogendyk & Wright, 2017) that were seemingly conditioned and reinforced individuals’ entrenched, transgenerational, and often unresolved experiences of collective trauma and historical disadvantage of the ingroup. Reasoning by historical analogy—that is, viewing an association between present and past events—is a crucial aspect of real-world decision-making, especially when people connect present-day situations and past emotionally loaded traumatic experiences that led to personal losses and profound institutional changes (e.g., Ghilani et al., 2017). Research in social and political psychology has shown that connecting collective memory of victimization to rhetorical processes can provide a useful lens through which to examine the questions of when and how recollections of past traumatic events can mobilize people for group defensive collective action (Augoustinos & Every, 2007; Billig, 1999; Condor, Tileaga, & Billig, 2013; Pilecki & Hammack, 2014; Tileagă, 2009). The study of social representations of history points to a growing understanding that shared representations of the past do not necessarily reflect some “pure” historical truth, but rather they amalgamate historical facts with myths and beliefs that are imperative in producing or maintaining the powerful relations between collective memory of trauma and current intergroup relations (e.g., Hirschberger, 2018; Liu & Hilton, 2005; Reicher & Hopkins, 2001). However, the idea that rhetorically connecting present-day experiences and circumstances to collective historic trauma can mobilize people to challenge the status quo has remained underexplored. The present research intends to address this gap. This article builds on the literature on social representations of historical victimization (e.g., Liu & Hilton, 2005; Reicher & Hopkins, 1996; Sakki & Pettersson, 2016) and social-identity-theorybased models of collective action (e.g., Thomas, Mavor, & McGarty, 2012; van Zomeren, Postmes, & Spears, 2008) extending the scope of inquiry to consider the psychological mechanisms behind the rise of bottom-up social movements through which the politics of memory can be used to demand societal change. More precisely, we are interested in the mobilizing effects of the process to which Historical Victimization and Collective Action 3 we refer to as political déjà vu (PDV, where déjà vu is French for “already seen”). We define PDV as a perceived analogy between past and present societal-level events, which could be achieved by a deliberately constructed political rhetoric on historical ingroup victimization to mobilize individuals’ in defence of their group’s future. Here, we are interested in the conditions under which PDV can give the impetus for engagement in system-challenging collective action. We thus use the Maldonado Case as an example of a social movement aimed at challenging situated injustice in a context where political rhetoric is used to draw the parallel between present-day dire events and historical wrongs that remain unredressed. Central to our idea is the view that narratives of one’s historical victimization cannot be dissociated from ideology (e.g., Billig, 1999; Hakoköngäs & Sakki, 2016; Wagoner, 2015). Such narratives function to promote a shared mindset that delineates group membership and provides a sense of group identity where the lines between “us” and “them” may otherwise be blurred (e.g., Liu & László, 2007; Páez & Liu, 2015; Reicher & Hopkins, 2001). This kind of “us vs. them mentality” is needed to distinguish victims from perpetrators and point to a target for action—the outgroup who might not necessarily have been involved in the forerunning event (e.g., Lickel, Miller, Stenstrom, Denson, & Schmader, 2006). These rhetorically constructed recollections of past traumatic experiences can trigger collective memories of loss and suffering, but they also serve to evoke moral outrage and the sense of collective agency needed to reach, mobilize, and persuade the public en masse (e.g., Bar-Tal, Halperin, & de Rivera, 2007; Condor et al., 2013; Pilecki & Hammack, 2013; Singer, 1995). In our attempt to identify the conditions under which individuals’ perceptions of PDV can lead them to engage in collective action, we rely on research testing the social identity perspective (Simon, & Klandermans, 2001; Tajfel & Turner, 1979). From the perspective of the social identity model of collective action (SIMCA: van Zomeren et al., 2008) and the encapsulated model of social identity in collective action (EMSICA: Thomas et al., 2012), PDV can be seen as a precondition of the engagement into collective action to the extent that individuals (1) affectively react to injustice, (2) believe in their group’s collective efficacy, and (3) define themselves in terms of social categories that sustain or oppose injustice-related cause and are hence willing to act on their behalf. We thus argue that PDV may serve a dual function—the delineation of a victim-perpetrator dichotomy needed for social mobilization of politicized collective identities and, subsequently, triggering the collective experiences of moral outrage and resilient sense of group efficacy needed to translate the perceived historical recurrence into system-challenging collective action. First, building on the integrated research on group-identity processes and collective action (Becker & Tausch, 2014; Chayinska, Minescu, & McGarty, 2019; Thomas et al., 2012), we seek to explore whether PDV can produce group delineation through two mechanisms of self-categorization—(1) social identification with a group that stands for the victimized and their cause and (2) disidentification from a contextually relevant group associated with a wrongdoing. We argue that disidentification and social identification in response to the perceptions of PDV can represent different psychological states: Social identification concerns one’s self-defining relationship to the group that stands with a cause of the victim of unjust harm perpetrated by the adversary, whereas disidentification concerns one’s active rejection of the upheld self-defining relationship with the group seen as the aggressor (e.g., Becker & Tausch, 2014; Peetz, Gunn, & Wilson, 2010; de Vreeze, Matschke, & Cress, 2018). Secondly, we suggest that disidentification may pave a distinct psychological path to collective action in addition to identification (the SIMCA and EMSICA classic identity mechanism). Theoretically, a self-defining relationship with the group that associates itself with the victimized is likely to produce feelings of fear, helplessness, and low self-efficacy (e.g., Bar-Tal et al., 2007; Bilali & Vollhardt, 2013; Branscombe, Warner, Klar, & Fernández, 2015; Schori-Eyal, Klar, Roccas, & McNeill, 2017). Those are normally seen as the psychological obstacles of collective action (e.g., van Zomeren et al., 2008). In contrary, disidentification as individuals’ collective sense of standing 4 Chayinska and Mcgarty against can evolve two action-related mechanisms: (1) feelings of moral outrage at the “aggressor” and (2) collective efficacy beliefs (i.e., people’s shared belief in their combined power to prevent the unfavorable events from reoccurring). Outrage and perceived collective efficacy have been shown to form two distinct pathways to collective action (e.g., Tausch et al., 2011; van Zomeren, Spears, Fischer, & Leach, 2004). Therefore, we expect that disidentification with the perceived perpetrators in the context of PDV can form a distinct psychological path, adding to the effects of social identification and explaining system-challenging collective action to the extent that people feel aggravated by outgroup and its misdeeds and believe that together they may achieve a desired social change. Political Rhetoric, Historical Analogies, and Self-Categorization Processes Socially shared representations of history are undoubtedly tied to ideology (e.g., Liu & Hilton, 2005). Several studies have pointed to the importance of political leaders and high-profile opinion makers as entrepreneurs of identity who typically use social representations of history in their discourses with the aim of voter persuasion and mobilization (e.g., Reicher, Cassidy, Wolpert, Hopkins, & Levine, 2006; Reicher & Hopkins, 1996; Sakki & Pettersson, 2016). According to Reicher and Hopkins (1996), political speakers tend to deploy certain discursive and rhetorical strategies to create a “self-evident” relationship between specific socially sensitive or controversial issues and the historical context in which they occur with the aim of mobilizing individuals’ actions in support for or opposition to certain political projects. Such strategies include depicting oneself (i.e., a political speaker) as representing and acting on behalf of the “common people” against political antagonists to protect national interests in situations that entail a threat to the larger collective (e.g., Augoustinos & Every, 2007; Finlay, 2007; Rooyackers & Verkuyten, 2012). The use of a metaphorical language and hyperbolic, extreme-case formulations serve a further discursive purpose: to appeal to concrete group emotions such as moral outrage or resentment that lie at the heart of social mobilization (e.g., Mols & Jetten, 2014). The application of historical analogies to some current-day event can thus be understood as a form of ideological elaboration needed to maintain or reproduce intergroup conflict by reinforcing a dichotomous victim-perpetrator view of history, especially in the context where the distinction between these groups is not clear cut (Hammack & Pilecki, 2012; Liu & Hilton, 2005; Reicher & Hopkins, 2001). In this sense, it seems that rhetorical recollection of traumatic memory can be strategically used to construct or intensify an “us vs. them mentality” heavily concentrated around the belief that the welfare of one’s own group is best served by the demise of its enemy (e.g., Ghilani et al., 2017; Reicher & Hopkins, 2001; Sakki & Pettersson, 2016). How does this play out in collective action? Thomas and colleagues (2012) proposed that individuals’ shared (affective) appraisals of structural inequalities or incidental disadvantages may precede and inform self-categorization processes, making people define themselves as members of a social group that stands for the disadvantaged and their cause. Elaborating further on this model, Chayinska et al. (2019) have argued that a shared emergent identity related to a social injustice cause a priori expresses individuals’ sense of standing against—that is, collective denial, rejection, and a situation-specific decision to distance themselves from the negatively perceived social category. In line with the premises of social identity theory, these authors showed that disidentification as a politicized sense of standing against certain categories, in addition to social identification with the disadvantaged group, predicted protestors’ commitment to pursue social change. Several studies have demonstrated that people’s subjective distancing and dissociation from the “offender” group, either experienced in response to the ingroup’s past crime (e.g., McGarty et al., 2005; Peetz et al., 2010) or current institutionalized disadvantages (e.g., Iyer, Leach, & Crosby, 2003; Powell, Branscombe, & Schmitt, 2005), led people to endorse prosocial action toward members of the victimized group and increased willingness to repair the harm. There are good reasons to believe that both mechanisms of self-categorization are driven by distinct psychological needs: Historical Victimization and Collective Action 5 Social identification implies a perceived similarity and inclusion of other in the self, whereas disidentification is often generated by people’s perceptions of normative incompatibility between their personal values and those of the respective social category (e.g., Becker & Tausch, 2014; Glasford, Pratto, & Dovidio, 2008; de Vreeze et al., 2018; see also Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Extending these ideas to situations evoking PDV, it is reasonable to assume that, when exposed to the narratives that compare some present-day tragic events with past cases of victimization, members of a society may engage with these historical analogies through self-categorization processes by affirming a self-defining relation to the group that stands with the victimized and their cause as well as rejecting a self-defining relation to the group seen as a perpetrator in that context. Further, we discuss the potential psychological mediators of this relationship. The Role of Moral Outrage and Collective Efficacy Beliefs in the Context of PDV Contemporary social identity research highlights that the recollection of past traumatic events, such as wars and genocides, is an emotionally laden process (e.g., Licata & Klein, 2010; Rimé, Páez, Basabe, & Martínez, 2010; Shnabel & Nadler, 2008). Historical analogies between past and present troublesome events are likely to activate the distressing memories of loss and trauma and, sequentially, evoke the trauma-related collective emotions such as grief, fear, shame, and helpless anger (e.g., Goodwin, Jasper, & Polletta, 2001). Empirical evidence (e.g., Goodwin et al., 2001) suggests that by converting collective emotions of trauma such as grief into emotions of resistance such as righteous anger, people will be more inclined towards political action. In the context of past and present transgressions, moral outrage was shown to be a particularly potent collective emotion able to shape hostile intergroup attitudes and punitive behaviors (e.g., Carlsmith, Darley, & Robinson, 2002; Russell & Giner-Sorolla, 2011). Several studies have found that people who experience moral outrage in response to criminal behavior and see the harm as an intentional conduct are more likely to perceive the offender as subhuman and not amenable to rehabilitation, which in turn affects their desire for severe forms of punishment (Bastian, Denson, & Haslam, 2013; Carlsmith et al., 2002). Perceptions of PDV may not merely trigger the feelings of moral outrage but also direct this collective emotion against the group accused in criminal acts. This idea generally aligns with the literature on collective action that views moral outrage as a powerful group emotion that stimulates people’s willingness to take system-challenging collective action (e.g., Thomas, McGarty, & Mavor, 2009; van Zomeren et al., 2008). The research on the collective …
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