The Breakfast Club Social Identity Theory

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The Breakfast Club (Part Two: Theories)

Social Identity Theory:
“Tajfel (1979) proposed that the groups (e.g. social class, family, football team etc.) which people belonged to were an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity: a sense of belonging to the social world.” (McLeod 2008)
In this movie there are five adolescents trying to find themselves and fit in within the groups they currently belong or have migrated into; the exception of one, Allison who acts out in mannerism that isolates her which is easier than trying to fit it. Andy and Claire belong to the ‘cool/popular kids’ the jocks, the cheerleaders the prom queens. Brian is the part of the geek squad, the brains the academic do gooders.
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This stage occurs during adolescence between the ages of approximately 12 to 18. Teens need to develop a sense of self and personal identity. During this stage, adolescents explore their independence and develop a sense of self.”
In the Breakfast club these five adolescents are going through this fifth stage where they are greatly influence by their parent positively and negatively. In the beginning of the movie you see a brief glimpse of each of their parents and parental styles. You have Brian whose mother is overbearing with her demands that he better find a way to study all day long. She provides us with the example of an authoritarian parent with high expectations. This is when the parent tells you what to do and how to do it with no room for discussion or detouring from what is being demanded. (good grades, exemplary behavior) Claire is dropped off by her father that the image of a permissive parenting. He consoles her by promising to take her shopping after she does her detention. Andy’s father drops him off while harshly reminding him that he is not to blow his chance at a scholarship and his athletic success. His father is an example of a parent trying re-live
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“the status in which the adolescent does not have a sense of having choices; he or she has not yet made (nor is attempting/willing to make) a commitment” (Identity Status Theory (Marcia) n.d.) When Brian was asking them if they would be friends on Monday, Claire spoke up and was very frank and even stated she knew that it sound mean, but no they would not. She stated that it wasn’t like she had a choice it was the people she was friends with they do not hang out with people like Brian. She went on to say that Brain was no different his friends wouldn’t want her to be around because she wasn’t like them. It’s not they had a choice she said, it’s just the way it

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