CORDIS - EU research results

The Effectiveness of Joint Collective Action in Promoting Social Change

Project description

A closer look at alliances of groups that vary in power

What do we know about how collective actions challenge the status quo and shape attitudes? What psychological processes bring about social change? The EU-funded JointActionEff project will answer these questions focusing on the intergroup contexts of men and women, as well as whites and blacks in the United States and Jews and Palestinians in Israel. It will conduct eight studies combining archival research, lab experiments and intervention methodologies. The findings will shed light on why and how joint action is effective and whether it affects social change towards intergroup equality. According to the project, alliances between white and black Americans and Israelis and Palestinians are unique because they involve members of groups that vary in power.


The last century has been characterized by the growth of grassroots social movements and large-scale collective action aimed at advancing equality, some of which has involved historically advantaged and disadvantaged groups acting together. Such alliances, e.g. those between White and Black Americans and Israelis and Palestinians, are unique because they involve members of groups that vary in power. Nonetheless members from each group have joined forces to promote social change toward equality. While there are reasons to believe that such ally-ship may be especially influential in creating actual change and motivating others to support social change, there is little research aimed at understanding whether joint action is more effective than action taken by the disadvantaged alone, and if so why. These questions are pivotal because it helps to answer the broader question of whether joint action, as a rare situation of inherently unequal group members cooperating despite the larger scale conflict between them , is actually worth the effort. While past work has focused on understanding the psychological antecedents of joint action, this proposal shifts the focus to understanding whether and how joint action is effective, that is, whether it affects social change towards intergroup equality. To these ends, a cutting-edge research programme is proposed consisting of 8 studies combining different methodologies (archival research; lab experiments, intervention) and focusing on three intergroup contexts: Whites-Blacks in the U.S.; men and women; and Jews and Palestinians in Israel. The proposed project will enhance knowledge about the psychological processes through which collective action can generate social change and succeed in shaping attitudes and motivating multitudes to challenge the status quo.


Net EU contribution
€ 269 998,08
91904 Jerusalem

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 269 998,08

Partners (1)