Seminarios Académicos

event Publicación: 07/12/2022

Rooting for the same team: On the interplay between social and political identities in the formation of social ties

Autor: Bruno Ferman

Abstract: We study the interplay between political and other social identities in the formation of social ties in a setting of intense affective polarization. We created fictional accounts on Twitter that signaled their political preference for one of the two leading candidates in the Brazilian 2022 Presidential election, their preference for a Brazilian football club, or both. We interpret preference for a football club as an affective dimension of identity. The bots randomly followed Twitter accounts with congruent and incongruent identities across these two dimensions, and we computed the proportion of follow-backs and blocks they received. Both dimensions of identity are relevant in forming ties, but the effect of sharing a political identity is significantly greater. Moreover, affective identity becomes substantially less relevant when information about political identity is available, indicating that political identity can overshadow other dimensions of identity. Still, shared affective identity has a positive effect in fostering ties even among politically opposite individuals. This result suggests that shared identities such as preference for a football club have the potential to reduce politically induced societal divides, despite the evidence that affective polarization may diminish this effect.

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