Pakeha attitudes toward the symbolic and resource-specific aspects of bicultural policy in New Zealand: The legitimizing role of collective guilt for historical injustices

C.G. Sibley, A. Robertson, S. Kirkwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A culture-specific model integrating research on collective guilt and the perception of historical injustices, within the context of Duckitt's (2001) more universal dual process model of ideology and prejudice, is proposed. As expected, a majority of self-identified Pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent) sampled from the New Zealand population supported the symbolic principles of bicultural policy (66% support, 5% opposition) but opposed its resource-specific aspects, such as affirmative action policies (21% support, 37% opposition). Pakeha opposition toward the symbolic aspects of Maori-Pakeha intergroup relations was predicted directly by motivations for intergroup dominance and superiority (high Social Dominance Orientation); whereas the relationship between Social Dominance Orientation and opposition to resource-based issues, such as support for Maori claims to the foreshore, was notably weaker and fully mediated by both the refutation of responsibility for and absence of collective guilt for historical injustices, which it is argued functioned as a legitimizing myth justifying social inequality in this context. This model illuminates the role of group-based motivational goals (competitively-driven dominance and superiority, threat-driven control and conformity) and legitimizing myths (in this instance the refutation of responsibility for historical injustices) theorized to underlie Pakeha opposition toward different aspects of bicultural policy at a time when debate surrounding the legitimacy of Maori claims to the areas of the foreshore and seabed was beginning to intensify in early 2004.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Psychology
Volume34
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005

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