Analysis of An Integrative Theory of Inter Group Conflict by Tajfel & Turner - Book Report/Review Example

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Analysis of An Integrative Theory of Inter Group Conflict by Tajfel & Turner
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Review of the Tajfel & Turner (1979) chapter: An integrative theory of inter group conflict The theory presented in the chapter has discussed about intergroup behavior and conflicts arising as a result of such behavior. The authors have identified such a group as a collection of individual having similar thoughts and emotions. At the same time they have cited the conditions favoring such comparisons. Broad categorizations of intergroup conflicts have been made to understand clearly the objective behind such conflicts. To give a more clear idea about social behavior interpersonal behavior has been differentiated from intergroup behavior. The authors have also cited various findings and theories of other authors and also live examples to highlight the reasons. They have also established principles underlying such intergroup behavior and the resulting conflicts. With this at the backdrop the essay intends to present a review highlighting the pros and cons of the chapter through summarization the theory discussed in the chapter.
The authors have talked about conflicts that arise due to the behavior of the group members .The group members usually share similar emotions and thoughts. Such group formations are influenced by element of self concept for membership and social circumstances favoring comparisons with other groups. In the context of social behavior the chapter has provided a distinction between interpersonal behavior and intergroup behavior. The main difference lies in the fact that interactions under interpersonal behavior are not influenced by other social groups and their mode of behavior which is just the opposite of intergroup behavior which is fully dependent on behavior of other social groups. A combination of both the forms has more practical implications. However the intergroup conflicts are classified as explicit or institutionalized and implicit especially to differentiate between subjective and objective conflicts. Such conflicts arise mainly due to discriminations in situations of lack of hostility that once existed among the group members and also due to lack of conflicts for fulfilling interests. Low affiliations within the group and issues of group membership may be sited as other reasons. Presence of stratified social relationships within a group fails to unite the group members. Presence of biasness within the groups also results in conflicts besides in compatible interests of the group members. The authors have also made such intergroup behavior responsible for promoting sense of discrimination against the other groups. Through certain assumptions the author has established certain principles for self categorization which are maintenance of positive social identity based upon social comparison and departure from groups when dissatisfied with social identity. Less comparable groups posess less positive social identity. Comparisons with other groups help to develop social and realistic competition. Negative social identity maintains subjective competitiveness with subordinate groups as a result of competition.
The chapter on social psychology emphasizing on intergroup behavior is definitely a very compact and well written one. It provides an understanding of the self which is very exhaustive. The book can prove to be a very good source to refer to when undertaken research studies on the self. The coverage of theories of so many authors together can surely be regarded as a job well done. Besides Sherif’s reason of incompatible goals causing conflicts the author has added other reasons through his research works on various live examples and findings and establishment of principles. The broad classification of conflicts is also quite remarkable. But from a reader’s perspective the book contains monotonous social and psychological theories which had made reading it a little boring. But such a flaw owes more to the subject area and the topic selected than on the writing style. The book has less discussed the effects of such conflicts as compared to the causes of emergence of such conflicts. Again the authors have given a more detailed explanation of the subjective conflicts relative to the objective ones although it is quoted in the book, “None of the arguments outlined in this book must be understood as implying that the subjective type of conflict is considered here as having priority or a more important causal function in social reality than the objective determinants of social conflict” (Tajfel & Turner, 1979, p.46). The authors have also provided a justification saying, “It is nearly impossible in most natural social situations to distinguish between discriminatory intergroup behaviors based on real or perceived conflict of ‘objective’ interests.” (Tajfel & Turner, 1979, p.46).
Therefore, the chapter outlines the theory regarding intergroup behavior and the reasons behind its emergence of intergroup conflicts. The broad categorization of conflicts as well as reasons behind their emergence has also been stated. Interpersonal and intergroup behavior has been differentiated. Throughout this chapter the author has concentrated on other authors’ works for citing real examples and establishment of principles. This makes it a good reference for research works on social psychological. However the content and writing format has been on the less interesting side owing to the field of study. Moreover the causes for intergroup conflicts have been highlighted more compared to the effects.
1. Tajfel, H and Turner, J. (1979). An integrative theory of inter group conflict, Handbook of Self and Identity by Leary and Tangney, New York : The Guilford Press Read More
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