Social identification and collective action participation in the internet age: A meta-analysis



Since the digitally-mediated large-scale protests took place all over the world, the role of social identities in collective actions has become the center of academic attention. Some scholars have claimed that interpersonal or individual reasons have become more important than collective identifications in participating digitally-mediated collective actions. To answer the question that whether social identification has lost its centrality in collective actions in the Internet age, we conducted a meta-analysis of 46 studies (N = 18,242) which examined digitally-mediated collective actions across the world reported between January 2011 and January 2020. We focused on the relationship between social identification and collective action, and the possible moderator effects of group type to be identified (emergent vs. pre-existing group), participation type (actual behavior vs. intention), and WEIRDness of the sample. The analyses showed a moderate to strong relationship between social identification and participation in digitally-mediated collective actions, while group type was the only significant moderator. Accordingly, the relationship between identification with emergent groups and collective action participation was much stronger compared to the relationship between identification with pre-existing groups and collective action participation. We discussed the theoretical implications of the results emphasized the basic dynamics of collective actions.

Social identification; collective action; connective action; social media; digital platforms
Author biographies

Serap Akfırat

Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey

Serap Akfırat is Associate Professor in Social Psychology at Dokuz Eylul University (Izmir, Turkey). Her research focuses on intergroup relations and intragroup processes, specifically in large-scale groups such as nations. In this regard, she is also interested in leadership processes, collective actions, and social change.

Mete Sefa Uysal

Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey; Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Jena, Germany

Mete Sefa Uysal is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer in the Department of Social Psychology at Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, specializing in collective action, intergroup relations, leadership, and social identity formation.

Fatih Bayrak

Başkent University, Ankara, Turkey

Fatih Bayrak (Ph.D. Cand.) is a research assistant at Baskent University and a manager at MINT Lab ( His research focuses on political psychology, morality, and intergroup relations. His works examine the underpinnings of certain belief systems, such as epistemically suspect beliefs (i.e., conspiracy, paranormal, and pseudoscientific beliefs) and ideological beliefs. He is also studying how different cognitive styles lead individuals to believe fake news.

Tolga Ergiyen

İzmir University of Economics, İzmir, Turkey

Tolga Ergiyen is a PhD candidate at the Dokuz Eylul University and currently working as a research assistant at the Psychology Department at the Izmir University of Economics. His research interests include intergroup relations, intergroup conflict and wellbeing.

Emir Üzümçeker

Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey

Emir Üzümçeker is a PhD candidate in and research assistant in Department of Social Psychology, Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey. His research interests include intergroup relations, gender and masculinities.

Taylan Yurtbakan

Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey; Istanbul Medipol University, Istanbul, Turkey

Taylan Yurtbakan is a PhD candidate at Dokuz Eylul University. He is currently at the Department of Psychology, Istanbul Medipol University, as a research assistant. His research interests mainly include intergroup contact, and prejudice as well as the link between social contact and social change.

Özlem S. Özkan

Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey

Özlem Serap Özkan is a Ph.D candidate and research assistant at Dokuz Eylul University, Department of Psychology (Turkey). Her research focuses on intergroup relations and more particularly on group-based emotions. She is specifically interested in formation of group-based emotions and factors that are related to them.

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Wright, S. C., Taylor, D. M., & Moghaddam, F. M. (1990). Responding to membership in a disadvantaged group: From acceptance to collective protest. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58(6), 994–1003.

*Zhou, Q., & Qiu, H. (2020). Predicting online feminist engagement after MeToo: A study combining resource mobilization and integrative social identity paradigms. Chinese Journal of Communication, 13(4), 351–369.

*= Articles included in the meta-analysis





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