Making sides and taking sides: An analysis of salient images and category constructions for pro- and anti-Gulf war respondents.

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Abstract

This paper reports supportive evidence for a modified self-categorisation model of mass social influence, whereby category definitions are determined rhetorically and the character of collective action is shaped through category arguments. The study was conducted shortly after the Gulf War and was concerned with the respective constructions of pro- and anti-war respondents. Respondents were first asked to recall the images of the war which had most impact on them. They were then shown 29 images of the war and asked to rate the impact of each one as well as explain why they had given such impact ratings. Finally, they were asked to select the five images which had most impact on them. The results indicated that different subjects indicated very different views of the categories opposing each other despite the fact that they were characterising the same event. Moreover, the constructions of pro- and anti-war subjects matched those previously having been shown to characterise the rhetoric of pro- and anti-war leaders. Thus pro-war subjects recalled and rated highly those images that were consistent with a construction of the war as opposing the civilised world (ingroup) to Saddam Hussein (outgroup). Anti-war subjects recalled and rated highly those images that were consistent with a construction of the war as opposing ordinary people (ingroup) to business and political leaders prosecuting the war (outgroup). (C) 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-993
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume28
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998

Keywords

  • SELF

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