Essay On Social Identity Theory

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Social identity is a person’s sense of who he is based on his social group membership. Social identity theory is a theoretical framework developed by Tajfel for the study of intergroup relations. The theory is based on the assumption that people want to improve their self-image through enhancing their self-esteem. The group people belong to is a source of self-esteem. The group people chose to belong to gave them their social identity and a sense of belonging. In order to improve the image of their social identity, the world is divided into the out-group (them) and the in-group (us). Social identity theory states that the in-group will discriminate against the our-group in order to improve their self-image. For example, the in-group can be …show more content…
As mentioned earlier, the world is divided into the in-group and out-group. Thus, individuals are categorised into in-group and out-group based on their group membership. The categorisation has an accentuation effect which is the exaggeration of inter-group differences and intra-group similarities. Inter-group differences are the differences between in-group and out-group. Intra-group similarities are the variabilities with the group. The second stage is social identification. People will adopt the identity of the group that they categorised in, and therefore adopting certain values and behaviours of that group. A self-concept based on the group membership is also established. People’s self-esteems are usually bound up with the group membership. The third stage is social comparison. Since people’s self-images partly come from social identity, people tend to seek positive social identities to enhance their self-esteem. One way of doing so is to compare the in-group with the out-group, so that the in-group can establish the superiority.

This essay is going to make an appraisal of the social identity theory by weighting up the strengths and limitations of social identity theory with reference to relevant studies, however, the main study will be discussed is by Tajfel in

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