Discuss the Social Identity Theory of Prejudice

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Discuss the social identity theory of prejudice 12 marks 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. In order to increase our self-image we enhance the status of the group to which we belong. We can also increase our self-image by discriminating and holding prejudice views against the out group (the group we don’t belong to). Therefore we’re divided into the in-group or out-group based through a process of social categorization. Social identity theory states that the in-group will discriminate against the out-group by focusing on negative aspects to enhance their self-image. Prejudiced views between cultures may result in racism; in its extreme forms, racism may result in genocide, such as occurred in Germany with the Jews, in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis and, more recently, in the former Yugoslavia between the Bosnians and Serbs. Henri Tajfel proposed that stereotyping is based on a normal cognitive process – the tendency to group things together. In doing so, we tend to exaggerate the differences between groups and the similarities of things in the same group. We categorize people in the same way. We see the group to which we belong (the in-group) as being different from the others (the out-group), and members of the same group as being more similar than they are. Social categorization is one explanation for prejudice attitudes which leads to in-groups and

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