Social Identity Theory

966 Words4 Pages
TMA 01 Total Words: 1000 PI: Part One In this document the author will describe how the Social Identity Theory as devised by Henri Tajfel contributes to the understanding of the identity of people with physical disabilities. The Social Identity Theory (SIT) evolves from the identification of the social processes whereby an individual will identify with a certain group and distance themselves from another. The SIT is based around the idea that and individual will identify with a certain social group based on primary aspects of themselves, in the case of this document, the individual may class themselves as either physically able or disabled. The initial segregation into a social group provides the individual with a set of values and ideals which are widely believed to go hand in hand with being part of a particular group. The SIT does not place importance on what outsiders think of an individual and their placement within a group, rather the theory is wholly dependant on the individuals self assessment and ideas of themselves and where they belong. Social Identity Theory categorises social groups as dichotomous, either 'In' groups or 'Out' groups whereby the 'In' group have a more positive image and the 'out' group have a lower social status. Tajfel found that people have a basic need to satisfy their social identity which results in social groups pushing towards having the best image and the highest status by lowering the status of others. This contributes to the understanding of where a physically disabled person would be placed socially, groups maximise differences and try to highlight their own superiority through their positive attributes which, in the case of able bodied or disabled, is the full use of their bodies. An individual will base a social group on their body, this is what one will see or feel every day and can be measured against others or
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