DSE212 Key Terms 1

  1. Social identity theory
    • Henri Tajfel
    • Divides identity into different ingroups e.g being a parent, being British, being a friend, being a wife
    • Our sense of belonging to these groups is important
    • Self esteem is boosted by having a positive view of these groups, and exaggerating the differences between our ingroups and those outgroups to which we don’t belong
    • Social mobility can improve the status of a group by working for social change either through social creativity (Black is beautiful campaign) or social competition (Ghandi’s passive resistance)

    • Why it is important to Psychology:
    • Has led to techniques aimed at challenging prejudice (e.g. blue eyes/brown eyes study)
  2. Social constructionism
    • Covers a diverse range of ideas not identified with any one theorist
    • Focuses on understanding of the world influenced through social relations
    • Identities are seen as fluid and dynamic, actively constructed in social interactions, changing across situations and over time
    • Language is important (e.g. can be used to justify a particular perspective e.g 'terrorist' and 'freedom fighter' can identify the same person)
    • Uses qualitative methods
    • Interested in the influence of the social and cultural context in creating peoples perspectives
    • Examples include Kenneth Gergen (pen/computer narrative)

    • Why it is important to Psychology:
    • Newly emerging major perspective
    • Increasing interest in modern psychology in what qualitative methods have to offerProvides an interesting alternative to more established approaches such as psychosocial theory and SIT
  3. Embodiment
    • The idea that our body is important to our sense of identity, having an effect on every aspect of our lives as we live through it
    • Through a body project, we can use our body to produce an identity, using it as a resource through wearing clothes, body piercings, tattoos etc
    • Important across identity theories

    • Why it is important to Psychology:
    • The importance of embodiment is seen particularly in relation to disability.
  4. Minimal groups
    • It is a group that participants are allocated to on a superficial ('minimal') basis, e.g. random allocation
    • Henri Tajfel used the minimal groups technique to test Social Identity Theory, assigning boys to groups in order to study ingroups and outgroups, demonstrating how people start to identify themselves with their ingroup and consider themselves superior to the outgroup

    • Why it is important to Psychology:
    • Provides evidence for a possible cause of prejudice
    • Carries implications for possible ways to reduce prejudice and discrimination (e.g. make people experience the effects as in the blue-eyes/brown-eyes study).
  5. Core identity
    • The central identity proposed by Erikson in his psychosocial theory of identity
    • He proposed that throughout all areas of our life this internal self remains stable, consistent and reliable creating a sense of continuity with the past
    • Identity is not rigidly fixed, Erikson proposed eight stages of development throughout which normative crises occur that may modify our core identity
    • The main area of conflict is Erikson's suggestion that core identity is relatively fixed.

    • Why it is important to Psychology:
    • The idea of a core identity is very important in the psychosocial theory, and is an important issue of debate that is not shared by other theories of identity.
    • Although others (social constructionism, SIT) contest the notion of a core identity, there are some identities that are not open to change (e.g. being an adopted person), and these could be said to form part of a core identity.
Card Set
DSE212 Key Terms 1
DSE212 Key Terms 1