Social Identification Theory


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SIT in cross-cultural psychology

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Social Identification Theory

  1. 1. Social Identification Theories (SIT) Cultural identity and intergroup relations
  2. 2. SIT evolve from social cognition theories• Examine the ways people perceive themselves and others and process information about in-groups and out- groups.• Ethnic and cultural identity form the core of conceptual frameworks and link self- definition to group membership
  3. 3. SIT and modern, cognitive psychology theories• Theories focus on internal mental processes; how groups see each other; how prejudice arises; why people leave certain groups and not others; how group membership affects self-esteem• Group level perceptions, attributions, expectations, attitudes and values
  4. 4. Acculturating individuals must consider:“Who am I?”“How do members of mygroup relate to other groups?”
  5. 5. Theoretical Perspectives•Acculturation models and measurements•Social Identity Theory (SIT)-
  6. 6. Acculturation and Identity• Involves the recognition, categorization or self-identification of oneself as a member of an ethnocultural group• Includes a sense of pride and a positive evaluation of one’s group• Focuses on broad identity changes
  7. 7. Acculturation and Identity•Balance model of acculturation: biculturalism is seen as middle- ground between assimilation and separatism•Replaces unidirectional models
  8. 8. Modern theories• Conceptualize home and host culture identity as independent rather than interdependent• Categorical Approach: concerns maintenance of heritage culture and relationships with out-groups; examines acculturation attitudes and strategies (pg 102, Ward)
  9. 9. Core research on identity and acculturation• Examines components of identity and how identity is changed over time; conditions associated with identity and identity change; characteristics of the individual such as age, gender and education, and the characteristics of migrant groups such as push/pull motivations and cultural similarity• Considers policies of receiving society (mono- or multiculturalism, loose/tight systems)
  10. 10. Tajfel and SITThree major defining features: • It’s part of the self concept • It requires awareness of membership in a group • It has evaluative and emotional significance
  11. 11. Self-esteem and SIT• Involves the recognition that various in/out groups exist and may be compared. Favorable/unfavorable comparisons have consequences for self-esteem.• A relationship between ethnic identity and self-esteem occurs only in cases when an individual consciously perceives ethnicity or culture as a central, salient feature of identity.
  12. 12. Intergroup Bias and AttributionsIn-group favoritism: • Individuals are more likely to make internal attributions for positive behaviors by in-groups and external attributions for the same behaviors by out-groups • Increases when identity in under threat
  13. 13. Responses to out-group devaluationMigrants and minorities are oftensubjected to negative stereotyping andprejudicial attitudes by members of themajority. If perceived asthreatening, individual’s may adopt avariety of responses to change theirsocial identities and restore self-esteem. Table 5.1, pg 105 (Ward)
  14. 14. Identity, Acculturation and Intercultural Contact• Individuals define, redefine and construct their own and others’ ethnicity• When acculturation starts early it proceeds more smoothly• Assimilation may proceed more rapidly in males than females, and women have more negative attitudes toward assimilation
  15. 15. Cultural Identity Across GenerationsFirst generation is oftenseparatist, retaining a strong identity withheritage cultureSecond generation more easily identifieswith host cultureThird generation often emerge as re-affirmationists with a renewed interest inethnic customs, values and behaviors
  16. 16. Distinction between cognitive andbehavioral aspects of acculturationImmigrants and refugees are more willingto learn new behaviors and skills thanchange their attitudes and valuesSuccess in new environment involves skillsacquisition that may be independent ofchanges in self-concept and core values
  17. 17. Quality and Quantity of Contact• Greater exposure to the host culture is associated with stronger assimilative responses• increased length of residence strengthens host culture identity and weakens home culture identity• Perceived attitudes by hosts influence self-identity
  18. 18. Acculturation and AdaptationHome-culture and host-culture identificationmake independent contributions to cross-cultural adjustment and influence differentadjustment domains: • Identification with culture of origin is associated with better psychological adjustment • Identification with contact culture in linked to better sociopolitical adaptation
  19. 19. Intergroup Perceptions and RelationsSIT emphasizes the importance of socialcategorization, comparison and in-groupfavoritism, yet research supports an‘integrationist’ preference by migrant groupsEmerging social identities may be negativelyaffected by out-group stereotyping, prejudiceand discrimination
  20. 20. Attributions and Stereotypes• Attributions refer to causal explanations about human behavior• Influenced by motivational biases such as the need to maintain and enhance self-esteem (internal/dispositional vs. external/situational factors)• Self-serving bias: tendency to accept credit for success and deny responsibility for failure (also at the group level)
  21. 21. Self-serving bias among groupsIsraeli students in the U.S. gave moreinternal attributions for Israeli moralacts and fewer internal attributionsfor Israeli immoral acts than Arabstudents, and vice versa (Rosenburgand Wolsfeld, 1977)
  22. 22. Intergroup Stereotypes• Negative out-group stereotypes have significant implications for prejudice and discrimination in receiving societies• Social psychological theory suggests that increased contact—at least under certain conditions—may improve perceptions and relations• ‘crystallization’ hypothesis: increased contact may sharpen intergroup perceptions
  23. 23. Prerequisites for positive perceptions:• Equal status• Pursuit of common goals• Contact of an intimate, rather than casual nature• Broader social climate supports intergroup contact(Amir and Ben-Ari, 1988)
  24. 24. Perceived Discrimination• Associated with less willingness to adopt to host culture identity and negative outcomes (increased stress, identity conflict, depression and social skills deficits)• Immigrant strategies in response include assimilation, attempting to pass as members of the dominant society, selecting alternative groups for social comparison, reevaluating in- group stereotypes, social action for group betterment
  25. 25. SIT and Multicultural IdeologyMost acculturation theories regard assimilationas an inevitable consequence of migration, whichlimits the maintenance of cultural identity insojourners.SIT argues that positive socialcomparisons, involving in-group favoritism/out-group devaluation are a primary source of self-esteem enhancement—suggesting thatprejudice, discrimination and conflict areinevitable.
  26. 26. “Multicultural Assumption”The development and maintenance of a securein-group identity can lead to greater intergroupacceptance and toleranceThe sociopolitical context in which interculturalrelations occur involves ethnocentric biases thatfavor assimilation as a natural outcome ofacculturation