“You can't give a syringe with unity”: Rwandan responses to the government's single recategorization policies
Rwanda's postgenocide government has implemented policies that resemble social psychological models of single recategorization, banning references to ethnic groups and replacing these with a superordinate, Rwandan identity. While social psychological research suggests problems with this approach, little is known about how people make sense of recategorization in the aftermath of ethnic conflict and genocide. The present interview study investigates the responses of 56 Rwandans to these single recategorization policies. Despite strong societal pressures, a variety of positions were apparent—showing how people actively construe categories, and the complexity of single recategorization in real-world settings. The findings suggest several novel insights and policy implications, including the need for context-specific approaches, utilitarian reasons for single recategorization, the role of malleability of identities in promoting social recategorization, and the potential use of recategorization models as transitional measures in postconflict societies.
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
government policy making, genocide, social psychology, ethnic groups
Moss, Sigrun Marie and Vollhardt, Johanna Ray, "“You can't give a syringe with unity”: Rwandan responses to the government's single recategorization policies" (2016). Psychology. 649.