New Master Thesis Assignments

Europe in 2017: The Consequences of the Refugee Crisis for a Common European Identity


The current refugee crisis puts a lot of pressure on the unity within European Union. Member states are reinstalling border controls, and openly discussing the end of the Schengen treaty, which would put an end to free travel between most European countries.

This project will focus on Europe as a type of Common Ingroup Identity: a group identity that may be shared by members of various smaller groups—in this case individual European countries. Past research has consistently demonstrated that creating a sense of a common ingroup identity can be beneficial for reducing intergroup tensions and creating intergroup harmony. At the same time, however, creating a strong sense of a common ingroup identity may reduce attention to differences between subgroups. This in turn may give group members the feeling that their interests are not sufficiently met within a common ingroup identity—resulting in declined support for a common approach.

In this project we will investigate how specific information about the refugee crises may affect perceptions of a common European identity and support for the European Union in general.


We will start with an exploration of recent relevant literature on common ingroup identity and group differences, and discuss how we can use this to further understand the European refugee crisis. Most likely the research will be based on experimental or cross-sectional data collection in the field, which will be analyzed quantitatively—but we will select the best research approach together.



Dovidio, J. F., Gaertner, S. L., & Saguy, T. (2007). Another view of “we”: Majority and minority group perspectives on a common ingroup identity. European review of social psychology, 18, 296–330.

Ufkes, E. G., Calcagno, J., Glasford, D. E., & Dovidio, J. F. (2016). Understanding how common ingroup identity undermines collective action among disadvantaged-group members. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 63, 26–35.

Wright, S. C. (2009). The next generation of collective action research. Journal of Social Issues, 65, 859–879.



Interested in this assignment? Please contact coordinator Sven Zebel (