This thesis investigates the link between social identity and political participation. The development of multi-ethnic societies has led to questions about participation among citizens with immigrant backgrounds. There has been an increase in participation rates amongst people with immigrant backgrounds in recent years, but at the same time people with immigrant backgrounds still participate at a lower rate than “native” Dutch citizens in the Netherlands (Klandermans, van der Toorn & van Stekelenburg, 2008). Participation is not always deemed a rational choice and people with immigrant backgrounds find themselves in a delicate position, whereby political participation carries the risk of increasing distinctions between immigrant groups and the “native population” (Klandermans et al, 2008). Regardless, there is a significant group of people with immigrant backgrounds that choose to participate. Social identity theory could help explain which dynamics are at play in people with immigrant backgrounds decisions to participate. Building on existing work on social identity theory and political participation; the aim of this study is to find out more about the role, that social identity plays in relation to political participation, amongst people of immigrant backgrounds. Social identity is defined as “that part of an individual’s self-concept, which derives from that individuals knowledge of that individual's membership of a social group, together with the emotional value attached to that membership” (Tajfel 1978, p63 as cited in Fischer-Neumann, 2014). This study has been carried out through the usage of interviews amongst 13 participating Dutch citizens with an immigrant background. The interviews followed a conversational structure and was supported by a semi-structured interview guide. Analyses of the data showed that social identity theory can relate to political participation amongst people with immigrant backgrounds. The results indicate that dual identification can play a role in relation to political participation, to add to this the results indicate that identity salience and contingency factors such a different sources for feelings of deprivation are related to whether or not a “politicized social identity” occurs.

Additional Metadata
Thesis Advisor Dr. I. F. van Meerkerk, Dr. M. Schiller
Persistent URL
Series Public Administration
Hoogendoorn, Ricardo. (2020, February 18). Bridging the gap: Unravelling the identity-to-politics link. Public Administration. Retrieved from