Categorisation as a form of social action Essay

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Classification is non a restraint on our thinking… [ it ] is alternatively something we actively do through linguistic communication ; it is a signifier of societal action in its ain right ‘ ( Brown, 2007, p. 157 ) .Discuss with mention to the survey of group procedures.

This essay will look at classification as a ‘form of societal action ‘ ( Brown 2007 ) .

The cognitive procedure of classification is where each single topographic points themselves and others into legion classs from household groups and friendly relationship groups to societal category and spiritual groups. This essay will get down by looking at Tajfel ( 1979 ) Social Identity Theory ( SIT ) by discoursing illustrations from the cognitive position explicating how they believed that societal classification was embedded in cognitive procedures before traveling on to discourse the Critical Discursive Psychological attack ( CDP ) including Brown ‘s ( 1986 ) beliefs that classification is a lingual procedure and looking at intergroup and intragroup procedures in order to discourse whether classification is a restraint on our thought or if we categorise others through our linguistic communication. This essay will demo that although the cognitive position brings to illume some interesting thoughts about classification, the Discursive Perspective enhances these thoughts and shows how classification is actively formed through linguistic communication which in itself is a signifier of societal action.

The societal individuality theory ( Tajfel, 1979 ) argues that every homo is placed deliberately or accidentally into classs believing that groups of people associate depending on which group they belong to. Who belongs to each group is explored through the self-categorisation theory ( SCT ) ( Potter and Reicher, 1987 ) where it is believed that persons take on group features instead than their ain single personalities ( Phoenix, 2007 ) . Tajfel ( 1979 ) argues that our sense of designation with societal groups every bit good as our relationship between groups and within our ain groups is determined by our cognitive mechanism of classification and that the component of group kineticss is declarative of cognitive procedures as the ontological premise was that of the encephalon being like a machine. Tajfel ( 1979 ) further proposed that groups were categorised in conformity to the procedure of pigeonholing which is used to separate how in-groups and other groups will act in certain state of affairss. Believing that emotions and classification are separate issues, Tajfel ( 1979 ) saw no function for emotions within classification even though he did advert them within his research. In contrast Billig ( 1991 ) argues that emotions are non separate from classification but portion of it.

Many research workers believe it can be hard to travel classs, one time an person or a group is stereotyped ; persons are non ever able to travel into a different class. As with the problems between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, one time they are categorised into one of the groups they are unable to travel to the other, hence, these groups are non categorised as a societal action in at that place ain right as they are constrained by faith. This overruling classification of faith topographic points many restraints on the persons as they are unable to alter other classs in their lives such as employment, lodging and households ; they are restricted to either the Catholic class or the Protestant and are unable to incorporate from one to the other.

Groups have been defined as a lower limit of 2 people ( Triplett, 1898 ) with intragroup dealingss refering its ego with how an person is affected by other members of the same group. Persons identify with their societal group and how group ideas impact on single judgements. An intergroup relation on the other manus concerns itself with how groups or persons are affected by other groups. Everyone life within a society belongs to a battalion of groups which leads the kineticss to run at many degrees ; hence Brown ( 2007 ) suggests we are invariably negociating our capable places relative to these places harmonizing to the context and state of affairs ( Brown, 2007 ) . Tajfel ( 1969 ) argued that we categorise groups of people by overstating differences, if societal Identity within the group is non favourable, people will either seek to heighten their group or fall in a better group, as with the Northern Ireland problems, this is non ever possible. If an person wished to fall in a group with a higher position, they could utilize single mobility in order to dissociate with their current group and move to another but this is an individualistic attack and would non profit their current group merely them. If an person wished to heighten their in-group instead than dissociate themselves with it, they could utilize societal creativeness in order to change and heighten certain group elements.

Although Tajfel used the cognitive attack he realized that a societal component was besides required in developing his societal individuality theory ( SIT ) ( Billig 2002 p148 ) . In comparing ourselves to others we categorise those from our in groups to those in the out groups ( the Accentuation Principle ) regardless of single feature ( Dixon, 2007 ) , although it has been argued ( Sherif, 1967 ) that relationships between groups can be more structural than personal bias, so in altering the structural ideals it will be possible to alter the beliefs of the persons within the group ( Dixon 2007 ) . This was shown in Sherif ‘s ‘boys camp surveies ‘ ( Dixon 2007 ) in the 1950 ‘s where the male childs were given a negative end and formed into groups, they showed marks of bias towards the other group and solidarity with members of their ain group until they were given a positive end for which both groups were required to work together in order to accomplish this end ( Dixon 2007 ) . Sherif ‘s survey shows how societal action is integrated into classification.

In surveies of bias, Allport argued that the Accentuation Principle may take to ‘faulty generalizations ‘ ( Allport, 1954 ) due to inter-category differences. Tajfel saw struggle and bias as inbuilt into our biological science whereas Billig contradicts this statement and states that it is our linguistic communication that categorises struggle and bias, it is how we talk and what we say that places other persons into classs, it is rather possible that we are incognizant of our biass as we may hold grown up seeing and believing certain information about other groups so it may be a instance of our ain bureau sabotaging the environing constructions in order to de-categorise each other. Where Tajfel argues that classification is a cognitive act due to motivational premises of out groups, Billig ( 2002 ) argues that ‘categories of bias are basically linguistic communication classs ‘ assorted with emotions ( Billig 2002 cited in Dixon, 2007 p150 ) with linguistic communication being used to knock and justice as shown in Northern Ireland when David Nicholl, a Protestant, and Donncha MacNiallais, a Catholic, talk about who is responsible for the problems, although they each admit to their group taking portion in and doing atrociousnesss, they each depersonalise their ain groups and topographic point the incrimination on the other group ( Dixon 2007 ) , as was Billig ‘s belief, their interpretative repertories showed affectional talk. The subject of power dealingss plays a big portion in classification as the people in our in-groups are frequently seen as equal to ourselves whereas we categorise the out groups as either more superior or inferior to our ain groups. Out-groups are frequently ‘depersonalised ‘ in order to overstate any single or social differences.

In contrast to SIT where class boundaries are thought to be rather inflexible, utilizing a dianoetic attack shows how different histories can utilize classs in a flexible manner as seen In Potter and Reicher ‘s ( 1987 ) survey into The St Paul ‘s public violence in a Part of Bristol ( 1980 ) demoing a community that categorised people from the same geographical community as portion of their out-group. Using classs in a flexible mode allows power dealingss to be investigated. Although SIT takes certain classs such as ethnicity or spiritual groups for granted, the dianoetic attack explores the lingual significance attached to the classs. Potter and Reicher ‘s ( 1987 ) survey showed that many contrasting histories were offered and depending on which group persons were categorised into, depicted who they believed was to fault for the struggle ( Phoenix, 2007 ) . In this intergroup struggle between a community and the constabulary, the interpretative repertories of the ‘community ‘ showed it is believed by insiders and foreigners as ‘an entity and beginning of bureau ‘ ( Phoenix, 2007 p126 ) and suggested that they lay the incrimination forthrightly on the constabulary. Rather than seeking to screen out any differences, these differences have been exaggerated and the community believes that the power of the constabulary should be reduced. By building entitivity each group could show different grounds for the public violence and hence had different solutions ( Phoenix, 2007 ) . Potter and Reicher have shown how different groups are categorised and how the persons within the groups can orient their actions depending on the actions of other group members. It is non lone actions that are tailored depending on which group we belong to, it is besides our words, our mundane words and actions put everyone into certain classs demoing that it is our linguistic communication and discourse that becomes a societal action. Within the survey a member of the community group stated that due to the public violences, they were go forthing, after populating 22 old ages within this group they have chosen to withdraw their egos from the group and move. This shows internal procedures of struggle within the community group and shows that persons are able to alter classs and withdraw themselves from in-groups.

This essay has shown that although the cognitive position has some valid thoughts about classification, shown chiefly in this essay utilizing Tajfel ‘s ( 1979 ) SIT theory and Sherif ‘s ( 1967 ) surveies of male child ‘s cantonments, the dianoetic position nevertheless, have enhanced on these cognitive thoughts utilizing illustrations from Brown ( 1986 ) , Billig ( 1991 ) and Dixon ( 2007 ) among others and shown how classification is formed through the inclusion of emotions and the usage of linguistic communication doing it a signifier of societal action in its ain right.


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