The role of relative deprivation in majority-culture support for multiculturalism

Zoe Leviston*, Justine Dandy, Jolanda Jetten, Iain Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    In this paper, we investigate majority-culture attitudes to multicultural policy in Australia. Drawing on relative deprivation (RD) theory, we explore whether resistance to multicultural policies and initiatives is related to individual and/or group-based grievance claims of discrimination. To assess RD, we asked 517 Australian-born people who identified as White Australians to rate (a) levels of discrimination toward their own group, toward themselves personally as a consequence of their group membership, and toward immigrants to Australia, and (b) feelings of injustice and anger associated with such discrimination. Our findings show that, while perceptions of discrimination toward majority-culture Australians are commonplace, perceptions of discrimination toward immigrants are more so. We also found that higher ratings of group-based RD of Australians relative to immigrants, but not individual deprivation relative to immigrants, predicted opposition to multicultural policies and initiatives. Moreover, perceived group-based RD mediated the link between national identification and opposition to multicultural policies. The findings highlight, for the first time, the importance of group-based grievance claims by majority-culture members in opposing or supporting multicultural policy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)228-239
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


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