The psychosocial aspect: Group consciousness and cultural identity
This chapter examines the posture of the dominant social consciousness towards minority difference, which concerns the manner in which minority difference is construed, experienced, and related to at the symbolic level by the dominant group, in integrationist vs. separatist social systems. The issue of identity is part or the larger aspect of consciousness, since identity is a dimension of the social consciousness of the group. In societal contexts where unassimilated ethnic minorities are defined as ethnic-racial groups, their collective consciousness is marked by a high degree of race consciousness. By contrast, in the integrationist context of intergroup relations the dominant social consciousness exhibits an opposing set of tendencies, manifested in the higher level of reciprocity and interchangeability between the dominant and minority cultural traditions. As a reflection of syncretistically-obtained cultural integration, the national identity not only facilitates structural or institutional incorporation, but is also the source of self-respect, psychosocial equilibrium, and existential situatedness for all of society's members.