Anticipated Stigma & Ally Collective Action in Japan, the Philippines & New Zealand

Associate Professor
English Studies

Though it goes against their interests in maintaining the status quo, members of an advantaged group may act to uplift the conditions of a disadvantaged group. The goal of this three-country study was to investigate a potential barrier to collective action by allies — the threat of being misperceived as a member of the stigmatized group. Using the Social Identity Model of Collective Action (SIMCA; van Zomeren, 2013) in the context of allyship for four stigmatized groups: sexual minorities, people with HIV, obese people, and the Zainichi Koreans in Japan. Participants in Japan, the Philippines, and New Zealand read a hypothetical scenario about discrimination experienced by a stigmatized outgroup. Measures for SIMCA variables and for private versus public collective action intentions by allies were administered. Presentation of results will be made in relation to the role of advantaged group allies to engage in collective action, despite conditions of stigma.

570 university students from Japan, the Philippines, and New Zealand, read a randomly assigned vignette that told a hypothetical case of two members of a stigmatized group and their experiences of discrimination and marginalization. For this study, we tested SIMCA for four stigmatized groups: lesbians and gay men, people living with HIV, obese adults, and in Japan, Zainichi Koreans. Participants answered scales measuring SIMCA variables as well as a 10-item anticipated stigma measure, all using 7-point Likert type scaling. As a dependent measure, a five-item scale tapped into intentions to engage in collective action for their respective assigned stigmatized group condition.

Results showed that participants in the Philippines were most mobilized, followed by those in New Zealand. Japanese participants had the lowest levels of collective action. This country effect was qualified by the interaction. Filipinos were more mobilized than Japanese across the first three stigma conditions and were generally more mobilized than New Zealanders except for lesbians and gay men. The obesity stigma condition mobilized collective action more among Filipinos than the Japanese or the New Zealanders.

Contrary to what was expected, stigma was positively correlated to collective action intentions by allies across the three countries. It appears that stigma is not a barrier to collective action for advantaged group members. In fact, those who believed that a stigmatized identity was more socially devaluing were more likely to extend support. We found that collective action by allies was predicted by anger at injustice, identification with the disadvantaged group, and efficacy beliefs — as predicted by the Social Identity Model of Collective Action. This was true across the three countries and regardless of the nature of the disadvantaged group. Contrary to expectations, anticipated stigma did not serve as a barrier to ally collective action. Instead we found that it had a small but significant effect in mobilizing ally collective action.

Presented at the 23rd International Congress, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP), Nagoya University & WINC Aichi, Nagoya, Japan, August 3, 2016, with Eric Julian Manalastas (University of the Philippines Diliman), Danielle P. Ochoa (University of the Philippines Diliman), Tamara Qumseya (Victoria University Wellington), and Winnifred R. Louis (University of Queensland).

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