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‘You don't compare horrors, you just don't do that’: Examining assumptions and extending the scope of comparative victim beliefs
British Journal of Social Psychology  (IF6.92),  Pub Date : 2022-06-25, DOI: 10.1111/bjso.12554
Johanna Ray Vollhardt, Helin Ünal, Rashmi Nair

Social psychological research on collective victimhood has often focused on comparisons between the ingroup's and outgroups' collective victimization (i.e. comparative victim beliefs such as competitive victimhood or inclusive victim beliefs). This qualitative study examines how people in different contexts of collective victimization and its aftermath make sense of items commonly used to assess comparative victim beliefs, and how they extend or challenge these constructs and their underlying assumptions. We used thematic analysis to analyse eight focus group discussions among four minority groups in the United States with historical or more recent experiences of collective victimization (Armenian Americans, Burundian refugees, Jewish Americans and Nepali-speaking Bhutanese refugees). Findings extend commonly assessed comparative victim beliefs and reveal participants' critical perspectives on these constructs. The findings also highlight the dialectical structure of collective victim beliefs: Participants not only endorsed but also rejected comparative victim beliefs, and relatedly described both ingroup power and outgroup power in the context of their group's victimization. These findings extend existing social psychological literature on comparative victim beliefs and intergroup relations.