How do Perceptions of Outgroups Indicate Barriers to Civil Society in Iraq?

Gresham, Dr. JN (2005) How do Perceptions of Outgroups Indicate Barriers to Civil Society in Iraq? [Preprint]

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At the Iraq "liberation" in 2003, many of us asked, "Is there really hope for civil society to emerge from the chaos?" We guessed about how Sunni, Shi'a and Kurdish factions could be brought together, and if it was likely that ethnic conflicts would lead to civil war. Seeking a better understanding of the situation, this project tried to address: "How do Iraqis' ethnic and religious identities relate to perceptions of other groups (outgroups)?" and "how does place of residence relate to those perceptions about outgroups?" I collected 479 surveys of Iraqi opinions in Iraq, Jordan, and The Netherlands. I asked Iraqis for their own ideas about their future, personal and collective, and their perceptions of Those Other Groups, their "outgroups." What did I find? That background items of religion, ethnic origin, and location, alone, did not relate strongly to respondents’ attitudes towards outgroups. But, some combinations of background items did give significant differences in perceptions towards other groups. For example, "moderate” Arabs in Iraq were the group most opposed to foreigners, and were the group most opposed to expatriate Iraqis returning to Iraq. This project, and the follow-up project on social networks of Iraqis, presents one approach from which researchers and fieldworkers can develop theories to explore and explain elements of civil society in Iraq, and beyond. ____ Jon Gresham is a visiting scholar at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands. His work focuses on the Middle East; he worked twelve years there.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:civilsocietyiraq, civil society, Iraq, social systems, outgroup, ingroup, tribe, bias, prejudice, regime change
Subjects:Psychology > Social Psychology
ID Code:4383
Deposited By: Gresham, Dr. JN
Deposited On:06 Jun 2005
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

References in Article

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