Social identity enactment in a pandemic: Scottish Muslims’ experiences of restricted access to communal spaces

Nick Hopkins*, Caoimhe Ryan, Jennie Sofia Portice, Vera M. Strassburger, Amrita Ahluwalia-McMeddes, Anna Dobai, Samuel David Pehrson, Stephen David Reicher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The comprehensive analysis of social identity cannot simply focus on individuals’ cognitive self-definition. Rather it should also theorise the social conditions that affect individuals’ opportunities to act in terms of those self-definitions. We argue that the social distancing interventions associated with Covid-19 provide an opportunity to explore the significance of otherwise taken-for-granted social factors which routinely support and sustain individuals’ identity enactments. Using qualitative data gathered with 20 members of the Scottish Muslim community (19 diary entries and 20 post-diary interviews), we explore their experiences of restricted access to community-relevant social spaces (e.g., mosques and prayer rooms). Our analysis shows that whilst these regulations could result in new opportunities for Muslims’ religious identity enactments, they also impeded their abilities to act in terms of their religious identification. Addressing such impediments, we develop our understanding of the contextual factors that impact individuals’ abilities to enact identity-defining norms and values.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1157
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Volume62
Issue number3
Early online date30 Jan 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Communal space
  • Covid-19
  • Identity enactment
  • Mosques
  • Muslims
  • Shared identity
  • Social distancing

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