‘Social identity’ and ‘shared worldview’: free riders in explanations of collective action

  • Helen Lauer
Schlagworte: ethnic violence, sectarian conflict, ethnic identity, social identity, collective intentions, recognition, social scientific explanation, Stephen Turner, John Searle, Raimo Tuomela, Walker Connor, Alex Honneth, Donald Horowitz, collectivism, individualism


The notions 'worldview' and 'social identity' are examined to consider whether they contribute substantively to causal sequences or networks or thought clusters that result in group acts executed intentionally. ... Three proposed explanaitons of sectarian conflict or ethnic violence are analysed as examples of theories that causally link intenitonal group behaivour to the worldviews and social identities of the individual agents directly involved.  But as will be shown, it is not a priori features of worldivews and identities as such, but historically specific facts and contingent circumstances that need to be examined in order to explain group-motivated behaviour.  Reference to worldviews and identities detract from adequate explanation.