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self-categorization theory


Subject Psychology

Key-Topics self

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631202899.1996.x


This is a theory of the self, group processes , and social cognition ( Turner, 1985 ; Turner et al., 1987 ) which emerged from research on social identity theory . It is concerned with variation in self-categorization (in the level, content and meaning of self-categories) and with the antecedents and consequences of such variation. It focuses on the distinction between personal and social identity. Where social identity theory seeks to explain inter-group discrimination in terms of the need for a positive social identity, self-categorization theory seeks to show how the emergent, higher-order processes of group behaviour can be explained in terms of a shift in self-perception from self-categorization in terms of personal identity to self-categorization in terms of social identity. Personal identity refers to self-categories which define the individual as a unique person in terms of his or her individual differences from other (ingroup) persons. Social identity refers to social categorizations of self and others, self-categories which define the individual in terms of his or her shared similarities with members of certain social categories in contrast to other social categories. Social identity refers to the social categorical self (e.g., “us” versus “them,” ingroup versus outgroup, us women, us men, etc.). The theory was initially developed to explain group behavior. It hypothesizes ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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