Collective narcissism as a framework for understanding populism

  • Research on national collective narcissism, the belief and resentment that a nation's exceptionality is not sufficiently recognized by others, provides a theoretical framework for understanding the psychological motivations behind the support for right-wing populism. It bridges the findings regarding the economic and sociocultural conditions implicated in the rise of right-wing populism and the findings regarding leadership processes necessary for it to find its political expression. The conditions are interpreted as producing violations to established expectations regarding selfimportance via the gradual repeal of the traditional criteria by which members of hegemonic groups evaluated their self-worth. Populist leaders propagate a social identity organized around the collective narcissistic resentment, enhance it, and propose external explanations for frustration of self and in-group-importance. This garners them a committed followership. Research on collective narcissism indicates that distress resulting from violated expectations regarding self-importance stands behind collective narcissism and its narrow vision of >true< national identity (the people), rejection and hostility toward stigmatized in-group members and out-groups as well as the association between collective narcissism and conspiratorial thinking.

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Author:Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, Oliver Keenan
Parent Title (English):Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, Wiley Periodicals, 2020, pp. 1-11.
Document Type:Articles
Year of first Publication:2020
Release Date:2022/05/04
Format:PDF-scan upon request / PDF-Scan auf Anfrage
Writings about Erich Fromm (Secondary Literature):Articles / Artikel
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Articles / Artikel
Licence (German):
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