Dr Siu-yau Lee, the associate professor at the Department of Asian and Policy Studies, has recently published an article on Political Psychology named “How Nation Building Backfires: Beliefs about Group Malleability and Anti-Chinese Attitudes in Hong Kong”. Dr Lee was also invited to give a talk about this paper by the Culture Lab at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Recent political science research has, intriguingly, found a positive association between nation-building programs and subnational intergroup conflicts. This presentation examines a possible reason: implicit beliefs about group malleability (i.e. the extent to which the core characteristics and morality of groups are shaped by context). Specifically, in the face of deep intergroup cultural and political differences, people who see their nation as a historically unified entity are more likely to believe that those differences are unchangeable and, in turn, develop negative attitudes toward other subnational groups. Dr Lee supports this argument with a representative survey of the Hong Kong population and two laboratory experiments. In the first experiment, respondents who are exposed to narratives that emphasize the homogeneity of the Chinese nation report a higher level of fixed group perceptions than those who receive the opposite message. In the second experiment, respondents who are primed to believe that group characteristics are fixed report significantly more negative attitudes toward migrants from other parts of China. The findings contribute conceptually to the study of nation-building and shed new light on the formation of immigration attitudes.
For more details, please visit https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/14679221.