Social Identity Theory
Anne Saw & Sumie Okazaki
Originally developed by Henri Taj fel and John Turner to understand the psychological bases of intergroup discrimination, social identity theory seeks to explain the psychological and social bases for intergroup behavior and has more recently been used to also understand intragroup processes. Social identity theory can be used in the contexts of multicultural counseling, research, and practice to understand the processes by which individuals develop and maintain social identities and groups. The theory includes three core elements: social categorization, social identification, and social comparison. Social identity theory proposes that individuals engage in a natural process of categorizing their social world into “us” and “them.” Individuals strive for a positive self-concept and maintain and enhance their self-esteem through their memberships in social groups. Individuals derive positive valuation from their ingroup (i.e., members of the group to which they belong) through engaging in social comparison of their group with other groups. To ...