The Pros and Cons of Examining Multicultural Policy Support on Different Levels of Analysis: a Comment on Liu and Sibley (2006)
Nowadays when multicultural issues are high on the political agenda of most first world countries, it is fascinating to learn about the similarities and differences in the ways majority populations react to cultural diversity. Liu and Sibley’s (2006) article on differential effects of societal anchoring and attitude certainty presents a timely analysis of majority population attitudes towards bicultural policies in New Zealand. First, they predicted that the European majority population differentiates between policies aiming to redistribute resources in favour of Maori and policies integrating Maori heritage in mainstream culture. Policies integrating Maori values were expected to be favoured over policies requiring resource redistribution. Second, by means of a multi-level model Liu and Sibley hypothesised that intra-individual factors (i.e., perceived policy importance and attitude certainty) predict support for bicultural policies, whereas societal and interpersonal factors (i.e., perceived media salience and peer discussion) predict opposition to these policies. The article provided sophisticated empirical support for these predictions. In this commentary, I will present my insights concerning the two main findings of their paper.