Three-level structure of civic identity

Keywords: civic identity, state, community of citizens, levels, affiliation, mentality, role, role interaction, organizational identity


The article is dedicated to the theoretical substantiation of the three-level structure of the civic identity of an individual.

The theoretical and methodological basis of the study were the theories of social identity and social self-categorization (H. Tajfel, J. Turner), the concept of organizational identity (S. Albert, B. Ashforth, J. Dutton), and role theories (E. Berne, E. Goffman).

It is proposed to consider civic identity as a kind of organizational identity that operates on three levels: institutional ("citizen-state"), community ("citizen-community of citizens"), and individual ("citizen-I").

It is proven that the institutional level of civic identity presupposes the inclusion of the individual in the organizational environment of the state: cognitive (understanding of the normative field of the state and the real practice of organizational interaction in it), value (social perception of the axiological field of the state, the terminal values of statehood in general and a specific state in particular), emotional (experiences associated with relations with the state as an organization), and behavioral one (realization of civic behavior).

Civic identity at the community (group) level involves affiliation with co-citizens (actual acceptance of them as in-group; civic mentality developed by them; similar understanding of all events and processes of the organizational environment of the state, which facilitates and intensifies communication between citizens regardless of their ethnicity).

The common experience of facing typical problems (from domestic to political) itself does not lead to cohesion, mutual support, or positive assessment of co-citizens, but it puts the foundation for civic solidarity due to the common value and significance of this experience.

The individual level of civic identity presupposes self-identification with the role of a citizen (in the context of role and script interactions with state institutions and fellow citizens).

An individual may identify ownself with his/her role as a citizen at varying degrees, may "know" it well or not, but in each case, the role of the citizen becomes part of his/her role repertoire.

Playing the role of a citizen can result in both open constructive and (more often) surrogate relations with the state, which may lead to various psychological games-manipulations and destructive scenarios.

Each of these levels of civic identity can be developed in a different manner.

The dominance of one of the levels carries certain typicality of manifestations of citizenship, so we see the prospect of further research in the development of a typology of the civic identity of an individual, and designing appropriate research tools.

Author Biography

Inha Petrovska, Ivan Franko National University of Lviv

Ph.D. in Technical Sciences, Docent,

Associate Professor of the Department of Psychology,

Ivan Franko National University of Lviv,

Lviv, Ukraine

How to Cite
Petrovska, I. (2020). Three-level structure of civic identity. Scientific Studios on Social and Political Psychology, (46(49), 131-138.