Theses Doctoral

The Contours of White Identity in the United States

McCarthy, Bryn A.

This dissertation asks how we should conceptualize white identity in the United States. I examine how we should measure white identity and assess the characteristics of white identity, primarily the robustness and durability of white identification. Taken together, the four papers offer two conclusions. First, traditional measures of white identity underemphasize the relationship between political preferences and white identification. I argue that we should instead characterize white identity in terms of adherence to white racial norms. Second, as opposed to narratives that portray white identity as reactionary, I find that white identity is remarkably durable in the face of both positive and negative information about whiteness.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Green, Donald P.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 4, 2022