The current research examines joint collective action between advantaged and disadvantaged groups, from the perspective of the latter. We hypothesize that joint action poses a dilemma which lies in the tension between perceived instrumentality of joint action (i.e., ability to promote the disadvantaged’s goals) and perceived normalization (i.e., its tendency to blur power relations). We test this idea across three studies in the United States and Israel/Palestine. In Study 1 (n = 361) we manipulated perceptions of joint action from the perspective of a hypothetical character, and in Study 2 (n = 378) we presented participants with an article highlighting the risk and benefit of joint activism. Results showed that perceived instrumentality increases, whereas perceived normalization decreases joint action tendencies. In Study 3 (n = 240), we described a joint action event that taps into some of the themes that induce concerns about normalization. We found that normalization perceptions feed into perceptions of instrumentality, and this occurred mainly among high identifiers, for whom the dilemma is most salient. The implications of these findings for understanding the complexity of joint collective action from the perspective of the disadvantaged are discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by the European Research Council (grant number 335607 to the sixth author).
© The Author(s) 2023.
- collective action
- intergroup relations
- power relations
- social change