Ingroup identification, identity fusion and the formation of Viking war bands

Ben Raffield, Claire Greenlow, Neil Price, Mark Collard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Abstract: The lið, a retinue of warriors sworn to a leader, has long been considered one of the basic armed groups of the Viking Age. However, in recent years the study of lið has been eclipsed by the discussion of larger Viking armies. In this paper, we focus on the key question of how loyalty to the lið was achieved. We argue that two processes that have been intensively studied by psychologists and anthropologists – ingroup identification and identity fusion – would have been important in the formation and operation of lið. In support of this hypothesis, we outline archaeological, historical and literary evidence pertaining to material and psychological identities. The construction of such identities, we contend, would have facilitated the formation of cohesive fighting groups and contributed to their success while operating in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-50
Number of pages16
JournalWorld Archaeology
Volume48
Issue number1
Early online date23 Nov 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • group cohesion
  • identification
  • identity fusion
  • ingroup
  • lið
  • Viking Age
  • war band

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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