Collective narcissism as a framework for understanding populism

Golec de Zavala, Agnieszka and Keenan, Oliver. 2021. Collective narcissism as a framework for understanding populism. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, 5(2), pp. 54-64. ISSN 2475-0387 [Article]

Golec de Zavala, A. and Keenan, O. (2020) 'Collective narcissism as a framework for understanding populism'.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (581kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Research on national collective narcissism, the belief and resentment that a nation's exceptionality is not sufficiently recognized by others, provides a theoretical framework for understanding the psychological motivations behind the support for right-wing populism. It bridges the findings regarding the economic and sociocultural conditions implicated in the rise of right-wing populism and the findings regarding leadership processes necessary for it to find its political expression. The conditions are interpreted as producing violations to established expectations regarding self-importance via the gradual repeal of the traditional criteria by which members of hegemonic groups evaluated their self-worth. Populist leaders propagate a social identity organized around the collective narcissistic resentment, enhance it, and propose external explanations for frustration of self and in-group-importance. This garners them a committed followership. Research on collective narcissism indicates that distress resulting from violated expectations regarding self-importance stands behind collective narcissism and its narrow vision of “true” national identity (the people), rejection and hostility toward stigmatized in-group members and out-groups as well as the association between collective narcissism and conspiratorial thinking.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

Research Funding: Narodowe Centrum Nauki. Grant Number: 2017/26/A/HS6/00647


collective narcissism, right wing populism, violation of expectations regarding self-importance

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



10 June 2020Accepted
6 July 2020Published Online
April 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Aug 2020 11:22

Last Modified:

27 May 2021 08:54

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)