Erikson's Theory Of Social Identity Theory

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This essay aims to outline findings from Social Psychology experiments and one other approach that would support the above claim. Firstly, Erikson’s psychosocial theory through the eight stages approach is discussed in relation to the above claim. Secondly Tajfel et al’s (1971) social psychological experiments are examined in relationship to the concept of Social Identity Theory (S.I.T);
Erikson’s theory claimed that people formed their identity through different cultures, communities and historical time periods. He also observed that our personality identity development can be affected through families and communities. Therefore, Erikson viewed identity as both personal and social and argued that both were interlinked to build a core identity. Erikson considered that stability and an appreciation of who we are is necessary to develop a healthy core, in his words ‘ego identity’ in order to have a stable future. He also considered identity development to be a life time process.
Erikson’s identified ‘eight stages’ through which identity is developed from infanthood to late adulthood. Each stage develops from the previous foundation. Erikson considered the 5th Adolescence stage as one of the most important. This stage is where many young adults experience an identity crisis. This occurs because they are trying to pursue some independence from their parents whilst remaining financially and emotionally dependent. They attempt to pursue their independence by seeking employment, trying new relationships and generally trying to fit into a particular social group. Sometimes this may lead to over identifying with groups because of the need to belong. The over identification can lead to intolerance and aggression towards those that are...

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...h biases of minimal differences rather than major inequality’s.
To summarise Erikson supports this claim but his focus is mostly on the process of creating identity through identifying with similar types of people. He was interested in how adolescents go through ‘identity crisis’ to create (ego identity) or how failure to accomplish a secure ego leads to role diffusion.
Tajfel however takes this process a step further by discussing intergroup discrimination through social comparisons between different groups. If our self –esteem is to be upheld then our group must compare positively with the out –groups. He attempted to find the minimal conditions that would lead members of an in- group to discriminate against an out group therefore the pursuit for individuality means that people identities with who they are through terms of ‘we’’ rather than ‘I’.
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