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Social identity development in pluralistic societies: A study on the psychological stages of development of the Lebanese identity

Marwan Makarem Gharzeddine, University of Massachusetts Amherst


An individual's social identity development in pluralistic societies going through an integration process has been little understood. A study was conducted on the Lebanese individual's social identity development. Based on a study of the theories of the psychology of social identity development, four Lebanese Identity development stages were proposed where an individual's social identity progresses from an unintegrated Lebanese, sectarian group identity, towards a more integrated Lebanese Identity. To test the validity of these stages, two research studies, a qualitative and a quantitative study, were conducted to explore the Lebanese social identity. In the qualitative study, open ended interviews of a number of Lebanese community leaders were conducted and analyzed. While the four proposed identity stages were reflected in the subjects' views, the majority of their views reflected a higher stage of identity development where the emphasis was on a civic society and the satisfaction of the individual's rights and needs as a basis of the integrated Lebanese social identity. These results were in agreement with the proposed Lebanese Identity development stages. Moreover, a quantitative research study examined the relationship between an individual's various socio-economic factors and their level of identity development. The results revealed that there is a strong relationship between an individual's level of identity development and the following socio-economic variables: Sectarian identity, profession, level of education, source of data collection, and nature of dual Lebanese nationality. In general, it was concluded that individuals had higher levels of Lebanese Identity development when they enjoyed a more secure life, had higher levels of communication and exposure to others in society as well as higher levels of education.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Social psychology

Recommended Citation

Gharzeddine, Marwan Makarem, "Social identity development in pluralistic societies: A study on the psychological stages of development of the Lebanese identity" (1997). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9809336.