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A discussion regarding social identity theory and discursive psychology

Milton, Damian (2010) A discussion regarding social identity theory and discursive psychology. Open University. (Unpublished)


As soon as a person is born they are ascribed social groupings in which to belong, from the family to social categories such as gender and religious background. How people act within group contexts has long been a fervent area of debate within social psychological research. A variety of perspectives have analysed both intergroup (between groups) and intragroup (within group) processes. This essay examines two such approaches: the cognitive social model proposed by social identity theory (SIT), (Tajfel and Turner, 1979) and the discursive social psychological (DSP) critique of this approach made by Billig (2002). Both perspectives analyse the tendency of individuals to categorise social life and others into ‘us’ and ‘them’. Thus, the role played by social categorisation and how people identify with these categories is highlighted, however, they disagree regarding the foundations of social categories and how they operate. As Brown (2007) states in the title of this essay, SIT can be said to see group membership as primarily related to individual cognitive processes. In contrast, Billig (2002) proposes that groups are sustained and reproduced in everyday talk and constitute discursive practices.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled keywords: SIT, Discursive psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Damian Milton
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 16:48 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 04:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Milton, Damian:
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