Evaluate social identity theory
identity theory (SIT)
SIT is a
theoretical framework developed by Tajfel and Turner (1979).
can be defined as the part of one’s self-concept based on the knowledge of
membership in social group(s) in combination with the value and emotional
significance attached to that membership.
strive to maintain a positive self-concept as well as a positive social
identity. People make comparisons between ingroup and outgroup on valued
dimensions to establish, maintain, and defend positive ingroup
distinctiveness (social comparison).
When a social
comparison results in a positive outcome for the ingroup, the need for a
positive social identity is satisfied but the opposite may also happen (e.g.
for low-status minority groups).
discrimination can be one way to uphold a positive social identity for the
ingroup (for example when women earn less than men for the same work or when
whites think they are superior and discriminate against other ethnic
members are look to have positive traits while outgroup members are looked
to have negative ones (leads to discrimination).
Study to use:
Strengths of SIT:
that intergroup conflict is not required for discrimination to occur. This
is supported by empirical research.
SIT has been
applied to understanding behaviors such as ethnocentrism, ingroup
favoritism, conformity to ingroup norms, and stereotyping.
research has been criticized for artificiality. The experimental set-up is
so far from natural behavior that it can be questioned whether it reflects
how people would react in real life. This could limit the predictive value
of the theory.
fully explain how ingroup favoritism may result in violent behavior towards
explain why social constraints such as poverty could play a bigger role in
behavior than social identity.