Collective Narcissism (1 Viewer)

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    MT15

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    I really hope this isn’t behind a paywall, but here goes:


    I hadn’t heard of this before, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. We are seeing it play out in the US right now. And not just by one side or the other, there are some behaviors exhibited by both Republicans and Democrats. This will take some honest reflection by everyone who chooses to read it.

    “In 2005, the psychologist Agnieszka Golec de Zavala was researching extremist groups, trying to understand what leads people to commit acts of terrorist violence. She began to notice something that looked a lot like what the 20th-century scholars Theodor Adorno and Erich Fromm had referred to as “group narcissism”: Golec de Zavala defined it to me as “a belief that the exaggerated greatness of one’s group is not sufficiently recognized by others,” in which that thirst for recognition is never satiated. At first, she thought it was a fringe phenomenon, but important nonetheless. She developed the Collective Narcissism Scale to measure the severity of group-narcissistic beliefs, including statements such as “My group deserves special treatment” and “I insist upon my group getting the respect that is due to it” with which respondents rate their agreement.

    Sixteen years later, Golec de Zavala is a professor at SWPS University, in Poland, and a lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London, leading the study of group narcissism—and she’s realized that there’s nothing fringe about it. This thinking can happen in seemingly any kind of assemblage: a religious, political, gender, racial, or ethnic group, but also a sports team, club, or cult. Now, she said, she’s terrified at how widely she’s finding it manifested across the globe.

    Collective narcissism is not simply tribalism. Humans are inherently tribal, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Having a healthy social identity can have an immensely positive impact on well-being. Collective narcissists, though, are often more focused on out-group prejudice than in-group loyalty. In its most extreme form, group narcissism can fuel political radicalism and potentially even violence. But in everyday settings, too, it can keep groups from listening to one another, and lead them to reduce people on the “other side” to one-dimensional characters. The best way to avoid that is by teaching people how to be proud of their group—without obsessing over recognition.”
     
    One more paragraph:

    Collective narcissism can be found anywhere on the political spectrum, left or right, but it seems to be particularly alluring to populists. National group narcissism has been linked to support for populist parties and politicians around the world. One study found that collective narcissism was the second-strongest predictor (after partisanship) of voting for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. It was also associated with support for Trump’s followers attacking the Capitol, and support for Trump staying in power using undemocratic means. (A longitudinal analysis even found that group narcissism uniquely predicted growth of conspiracy thinking over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign.) Group narcissism was also found to be linked to pro-Brexit voting in the United Kingdom, anti-environmentalism in Poland, and negative attitudes toward the EU in Hungary.
     

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