Academic journal article New Zealand Journal of Psychology

Differentiating the Motivations and Justifications Underlying Individual Differences in Pakeha Opposition to Bicultural Policy: Replication and Extension of a Predictive Model

Academic journal article New Zealand Journal of Psychology

Differentiating the Motivations and Justifications Underlying Individual Differences in Pakeha Opposition to Bicultural Policy: Replication and Extension of a Predictive Model

Article excerpt

This study elaborated upon Sibley, Robertson, and Kirkwood's (2005) recently proposed model predicting individual differences in Pakeha (New Zealanders of European descent) support/opposition for the symbolic and resource-specific aspects of bicultural policy. The theory integrates research on the function of historical representations and collective guilt for historical injustices within the context of Duckitt's (2001) model of the dual motivational and cognitive processes underlying prejudice, and argues that the refutation of responsibility for historical injustices functions as a legitimizing myth justifying social inequality between Maori and Pakeha. Consistent with Duckitt (2001), structural equation modeling indicated that social conformity predicted dangerous world beliefs, which in turn predicted Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA), whereas tough-mindedness predicted competitive world beliefs, which in turn predicted Social Dominance Orientation (SDO). SDO in turn predicted decreased levels of support for different aspects of bicultural policy, and as hypothesized, these effects were mediated by the refutation of responsibility for historical injustices. These findings provide further insight into the ideological attitudes thought to motivate (in this case SDO), and the justifications thought to legitimize (in this case the refutation of historical responsibility) expressions of opposition toward different aspects of bicultural policy in the New Zealand socio-political environment. The utility of this theoretical framework for assessing both the processes underlying, and the content of, socially elaborated discourses legitimizing discriminatory attitudes in other domains and across other cultural contexts is discussed.

Keywords:

Bicultural policy, biculturalism, legitimizing myths, history, social dominance theory, collective guilt, Treaty of Waitangi, prejudice. **********

New Zealand (NZ) is relatively unique on the world stage. This is due in part to a political system which formally recognizes Maori (the indigenous peoples of NZ) and non-Maori New Zealanders as distinct but equal partners. This idea of biculturalism is enshrined in the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, between representatives of Maori and the British colonial government. Once declared a legal "nullity", the Treaty began its rehabilitation in the late 1960's (Orange, 2004). It is now regarded as one of the legal foundations for NZ's sovereignty, and is considered by both Maori and Pakeha (1) (New Zealanders of European descent) to be the most important event in NZ's history (Liu, 2005; Liu, Wilson, McClure, & Higgins, 1999).

Over the last few years, research has begun to map out the different themes underlying Pakeha discourse and attitudes regarding Maori-Pakeha relations, concepts of biculturalism, and related social policy. Elaborating upon this qualitative work (e.g., Nairn & McCreanor, 1990, 1991, Barclay & Liu, 2003), Sibley and Liu (2004) developed a scale assessing support/opposition for two different aspects of bicultural policy. The first theme referred to the symbolic principles of biculturalism, defined as the degree to which people are supportive of the incorporation of Maori culture and values into mainstream (primarily Pakeha) NZ culture and national identity. The second theme referred to resource-specific aspects of bicultural policy, defined as the degree to which people are supportive of policies that aim to redistribute resources in favour of Maori on a categorical basis. Previous research using both student and general population samples indicated that although the majority of Pakeha supported the symbolic principles of bicultural policy (e.g., Maori language, Marae greetings, the Haka, wearing bone carvings, etc), support for its resource-specific aspects (e.g., land claims, resource-allocations favouring Maori, affirmative action programs) was dramatically lower (Sibley & Liu, 2004; Sibley, Robertson, & Kirkwood, 2005). …

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