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Social Identity - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Social Identity Social identity theory originates from Henri Tajfel and offers a social, psychological description of intergroup prejudice, conflict and discrimination. This approach is profoundly concerned with the relation between self and society…
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Download file to see previous pages Incidentally, it is a representation of a challenge to other traditional psychological theories thereby generating nascent interest amongst sociologists. Throughout the years, the theory of social identity has been elaborated, and at the same time, extended to encompass matters of group leadership, political action, organizational psychology and deviance. Presently, social identity theory stands out as one of the highly dominant theoretical viewpoints in psychological social psychology. Social identity happens to be a person’s awareness of whom they are on the basis of their group membership(s). According to Tajfel, the groups such as social class, family or baseball team that people belong to tend to be a significant source of pride, as well as self-esteem. Apparently, groups end up giving us a feeling of social identity that is a sense of belonging in the social world and in order to enhance our self-image we tend to elevate the group’s status whereby we belong. Apart from that, we can also enhance our self-image when we discriminate and hold prejudiced opinions against the group we do not belong to. When categorizing the social group in which a person belongs to, we have the in-group that is us and the outgroup that is them. According to the social identity theory, the in-group tends to discriminate against the outgroup, thereby enhancing their personality (Greenberg 36). The key supposition of social identity theory asserts that group members belonging to an in-group endeavors to find negative features of an outgroup, thereby enhancing their personality. The social identity theory has three mental processes applied when evaluating groups as “us” or “them” that is in-group and outgroup which take place in a certain order. Firstly, objects get classified for easier understanding and identification (Marilynn & Miles 42). Similarly, we categorize people ourselves included so as to understand their social environment; therefore, we use social categories such as black, white, American, Christian, Muslim, employee and student because they are useful. Furthermore, we define proper behavior referring to the standards of groupings we belong to, bearing in mind that there is a possibility of an individual to belong to various groups. Secondly is the social identification, whereby we tend to adapt the group's identity in which we have classified ourselves as belonging to. For instance, considering that I am a student, I have to adopt the characteristics of a student and start acting ways I presume students act thereby conforming to the customs of the group. Here, there happen to be an emotional importance to my identification with a group considering that my self-esteem will be bound with group membership. Lastly, is the social comparison; after categorizing myself as part and parcel of a group and identified with that group, there is a need to compare that group amongst other groups. In order to be able to maintain our self-esteem, there is a need for our group to compare favorably amongst other groups. This is vital when understanding prejudice since once two groups recognizes themselves as rivals; they must compete so that the members are capable of maintaining their self-esteem. Therefore, competition, along with hostility amongst groups happens to be a matter of contending for resources and jobs, as well as the consequence of competing identities. Leaders are those people having a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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