Social Categorisation Process

863 Words 4 Pages
SIT maintains that people use different processes to define their social reality and their own position in relation to others (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012). These processes are social categorisation, social comparison and social identification.
Social categorisation is the process of deciding which group you or others belong to and is a psychological process that provides a way of responding to complex social situations. Individuals think of people in terms of certain social categories in order to organise socially relevant information; this allows them to understand and predict their behaviour and the behaviour of others (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012).
Individuals that are categorised into the same group are thought to possess the same group-defining
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When individuals care about the group they belong to they will be motivated to accentuate the identity of their groups and protect, defend and improve the value afforded to those groups and their members (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012). In some instances this process can be to the detriment of other groups and their members (Tajfel, 1978c).
Identity management strategies.
There are certain strategies that individuals in groups can adopt in order to address the low-status of their social groups and in turn recuperate the value of their social identity (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012).
Individual mobility is a strategy that takes place at an individual level; individuals may want to escape or deny belonging to a certain group and instead want to be associated with a group of higher social standing (Tajfel, 1979). The individuals will therefore attempt to show in various ways how they are different from their group members (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012). This strategy is also indicative of a lack of commitment to the group an individual belongs to (Reid, 2009). This strategy aims to enhance the participants’ identities without changing the status of the in-group as a whole (Jackson, Sullivan, Harnish, & Hodge,
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“Permeability of the group boundaries relates to the subjective belief that it is possible for individuals to act as independent agents within a given social system” (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012, p. 5). Individuals decide if the characteristics they have, that associate them with a specific group, confine their access to other groups or whether these characteristics can be separated from them as individuals regardless of the group they belong to (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012). This strategy can be pursued if the individual perceived the group boundaries to be permeable, however, if the boundaries are perceived as impermeable the individuals will feel more bound to their group (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012). The permeability of the boundaries of the group is important in distinguishing which individual identity management strategies will be used (Ellemers, van Knippenberg, & Wilke, 1988).
Stability refers to the idea that some differences between groups are seen as fluid and are thus subject to change and other differences are regarded as more permanent and stable (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012). “When status differences are viewed to be secure, the individuals with a devalued social identity are less likely to choose strategies of social change and would rather focus on individual mobility” (Ellemers & Haslam, 2012, p.

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