Social Identity Theory And Social Representations Theory Essay

Social Identity Theory And Social Representations Theory Essay

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Human beings are inherently born into various social groups whether it be through race, ethnicity, gender or cultural backgrounds. As an individual grows and develops these social group become more complex through friends, beliefs, sexual preferences, interests and desires. It is within these social groups individuals develop and form sense of pride, belonging, validation and identity. The aim of this essay is to compare and contrast Social Identity Theory and Social Representations Theory using race and discrimination as an underlying theme. This essay will largely focus on the differences between the two theories whilst still focusing on the major similarities. This essay will also explore how these two theories can be used to gain a better understanding of race and discrimination within different groups in society. This essay will argue that whilst, these theories are fundamentally different both theories add merit and can be used to better understand human behaviour, race and discrimination essential the essence of social psychology.
Social Identity Theory (Tajfel, 1979) is defined as an individual’s sense of self, based on group membership and how group membership effects an individual’s self-esteem. In a more recent definition in (Burke, 2006) book on contemporary social theories (Hogg, 2006) defined Social Identity Theory as a psychological analysis of the role self-conception has within group membership, group processes, and intergroup relations. Social Representations Theory (Moscovici, 1984) is defined as the values, ideas, beliefs, and practices that are shared between groups and communities. According to (Liu & Hilton, 2005) socially shared representations of history have been vital in creating, maintain and changing a...

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...this essay explored the similarities and differences between Social Representation Theory and Social Identity Theory, showing that although in certain instances the two theories can be interlinked and share similar methodologies no one theory can out way the other in regards to race and discrimination and that both theories have different approaches to explaining societies attitudes towards racial discrimination and prejudice. Where one theory was unable to explain self and society, the other uses groups and communities to explain how individuals form options about different types of groups, without taking into account that not everyone within that group or community shares the same ideologies as the rest of the collective group. It can also be suggested that more research could be done to understand how other areas in social psychology can used and interlinked.

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