Towards an understanding of performative allyship: Definition, antecedents and consequences

Maja Kutlaca, Helena Radke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Adding rainbow filters in support of LGBTQ+ movements or changing profile pictures to black squares to show support for the BlackLivesMatter movement have become common contemporary expressions of solidarity. However, these actions are often criticized as being ‘performative’ and falling short of genuine social change. Despite its popular-ity, little is known about what performative allyship is and what its pitfalls or potential benefits may be. We review the existing psychological literature on intergroup relations and allyship to provide a definition and framework for stud-ying performative allyship and its consequences for social change. We propose that the term performative allyship refers to easy and costless actions that often do not chal-lenge the status quo and are motivated primarily by the desire to accrue personal benefits. The literature suggests that engaging in performative allyship may have a negative impact on the physical and mental well-being of disadvan-taged groups, but also on allies. We discuss negative and some positive consequences of engagement in performative allyship on disadvantaged groups, allies and society at large and provide directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12724
JournalSocial and Personality Psychology Compass
Early online date14 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Dec 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • advantaged groups
  • allyship
  • disadvantaged groups
  • motivation
  • social change


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