University of London, United Kingdom; University Professor, University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poznan, Poland
Keynote Lecture: Collective narcissism and collective self-esteem as alternative strategies of self-enhancement through positive social identity.
Previous research indicated that people project their self-evaluations on their groups as well as derive their self-knowledge from their social identities. Thus, groups can be used for self- enhancement. According to social identity theory, people derogate out-groups in order to achieve positive in-group distinctiveness and boosting their self-esteem. According to the Frankfurt School and status politics theorists, low self-esteem motivates collective narcissism – exaggerated positive in-group image and resentment for its insufficient external recognition. Empirical support for both theoretical propositions has been weak. We revisit them taking into account that self-esteem overlaps with individual narcissism and collective narcissism overlaps with but differs from collective self-esteem (or in-group satisfaction), a belief that the group is of high value and a reason to be proud. In a series of cross-sectional, longitudinal and experimental studies we established that (1) the unique association between self-esteem and collective narcissism is negative, whereas the association between self-esteem and collective self-esteem is positive; (2) the positive association between self-esteem and collective self- esteem is reciprocal; (3) collective self-esteem supresses the positive association between grandiose narcissism and collective narcissism and (4) the association between vulnerable and collective narcissism is reciprocal. Taken together, those results suggest that collective self- esteem is an effective strategy of self-enhancement. It enhances self-esteem, reduces narcissism and motivates people to act on behalf and in the interest of their groups. Collective narcissism is inspired by frustrated self-entitlement but instead of reducing, reinforces it.