Self And Collective In Cognition And Social Context

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The article “ Self and Collective: Cognition and Social Context ” by Turner, Oakes, Haslam and McGarty ( 1994 ) addresses the utilizations of Self-Categorisation Theory ( SCT ; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & A ; Wetherell, 1987 ) , in explicating the relationship between the ego and the collective. The article displays the necessary differentiations between personal and societal individuality as separate degrees of self-categorisation, how classification is unstable and context dependant in assorted ways and the maps of the variableness of ego. The writers were effectual in turn toing the utilizations of SCT in relation to the above points and this is a major strength of the article. However, the cognitive and perceptual focal point on group procedures and intergroup dealingss is regarded as a unfavorable judgment of the article, as it mostly overlooks motivational and affectional facets of the group. Overall, nevertheless, the article is good executed in using self-categorisation theory to the inextricable relationship between the ego and collective.


Harmonizing to Self-categorisation Theory ( SCT ; Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & A ; Wetherell, 1987 ) , persons have a cardinal and nonvoluntary cognitive inclination to sort societal stimulations into basic-level societal classs on the footing of their similarity with, or unsimilarity from, extra societal stimulations present ( this classification may depend upon the features of the stimulation, the percipient, or the context ) . Using these societal classs, persons besides categorise themselves into the group to which they perceive themselves to be most similar to ( Ashmore, Deaux & A ; McLaughlin-Volpe, 2004 ) . This theory was developed to derive a cognitive apprehension of societal individuality saliency and to turn to some issues that Social Identity Theory ( SIT ; Tajfel & A ; Turner, 1986 ) did non turn to, such as how one ‘s individuality ( either personal or societal ) becomes outstanding over the other, or why persons choose to categorize themselves as a member of one group over others.

The chief focal point of the current article, ‘Self and Corporate: Cognition and Social Context ‘ by Turner, Oakes, Haslam and McGarty ( 1994 ) is to set SCT to utilize in understanding the relationship between the ego and the corporate, and the writers provide good grounds to its function in understanding this relationship.

The article begins with the writers suitably discoursing the relevant cardinal points of self-categorisation theory – how personal and societal individuality characterise two distinguishable degrees of self-categorisation. Personal individuality pertains to self-categories that define an person in footings of their alone single properties, while societal individuality refers to the classification to societal groups with some emotional and value significance ( Haslam, 2004 ) . In order to exchange saliency from personal ( self ) to societal ( corporate ) individuality a procedure of ‘depersonalization ‘ occurs – a procedure by which ‘individuals tend to specify and see themselves less as differing single individuals and more as the interchangeable representatives of some shared societal class rank ‘ ( Turner et al. , 1994 ) . This construct is of import in understanding the writers ‘ subsequent accounts of group phenomena in the article because ‘it brings self-perception and behavior in line with the contextually relevant clique paradigm ‘ ( Hogg & A ; Terry, 2000 ) . Other cardinal constructs discussed in the background information were those of one ‘s comparative handiness ( ‘the active selectivity of the percipient ‘ ) and the ‘fit ‘ ( both comparative and normative ) between assorted classs and the stimulation world ( Oakes, 1987 ) . These constructs were supplemented with mention to old research and were explained efficaciously by the writers. However, the writers wanted to travel further in explicating the saliency and map of self-categories and how cognitive procedures associated with classification produce corporate representations and are the footing for group behavior ( Hogg & A ; Terry, 2000 ) .

Strengths of article.

The first cardinal issue presented by the writers is how self-categorisation ‘is inherently variable, fluid and context dependant, as self-categories are societal comparative and are ever comparative to a frame of mention ‘ ( through the procedure of meta-contrast ) , and that it does non stand for preset belongingss of the percipient. In utilizing the meta-contrast rule four fluctuations of this context dependance were considered – a ) self-categorisation is dependent upon the outstanding degree of classification B ) self-categorisation is dependent upon the normative tantrum between ego and others, degree Celsius ) self-categorisation is dependent upon the content of diagnostic differences, and vitamin D ) self-categorisation is dependent upon the internal construction of self-categories. In drumhead, the writers claim the degree, sort, content, and internal construction of self-categories rely upon the association between the ego and the societal context, and that it is through these discrepancies of classification that we represent our invariably altering relationships to others ( intergroup dealingss ) . The writers argue that intergroup dealingss can be understood through the context dependance of self-categorisation – how ego and others are categorised will act upon the dealingss between groups and is the procedure underlying behavior, ‘self-categorisation in inherently variable in order to stand for our altering relationships to others ‘ ( Turner et al. , 1994 ) .

Another cardinal point, and strength of the article, that Turner et al. discuss is that of the societal variableness of the ego – how it is methodical and is associated with fluctuation in societal contexts, how self-categories represent the percipient in corporate footings, how group-level procedures emerge as a map of self-categorisation and how these processes in return mediate self-categorisation and knowledge. This variableness straight has in impact on the relevancy of stimulation to the percipient by impacting values, motivations, ends etc. and commanding percipient preparedness, in bend impacting self-categorisation and group procedures. The thought of the variable ego besides highlights the fluidness of self-categories – that they can non be ‘stored prior to their usage ‘ , and that they are non fixed constructions, but dynamic corporate opinions. This is reaffirmed legion times by the writers, ‘social contexts are boundlessly variable, as are our relationships to them, yet we are ne’er at a loss for an appropriate self-definition ‘ ( Turner et al. , 1994 ) .

In concurrence with the two chief statements antecedently addressed, the writers eliminate other similar theories in explicating the corporate, such as societal constructionism and symbolic interaction, by underscoring the ‘reflexive, flexible representations of the societal contextual belongingss of the percipient ‘ and emphasis that ‘group relationships exist socially and psychologically and therefore it is necessary and sensible to specify oneself in footings of them ‘ ( Turner et al. , 1994 ) .

Failings of article.

The chief unfavorable judgment evident of Turner et Al ‘s article, and in turn self-categorization theory, is the focal point upon the cognitive and the perceptual in the analysis of group individualities, and a attendant overlook of motivational and affectional procedures. While the theory is more than efficient in explicating single and even group processes, it offers a less than comprehensive apprehension of intergroup dealingss. The self-evaluation and self-enhancement motivations, such as positive peculiarity and group sweetening, which were cardinal motivational factors in societal individuality theory, are non taken into history in self-categorisation theory. The article does non go to to the motivations or grounds behind self-categorising oneself into one ‘s group, or for the behavior of one ‘s group, but instead concluded that ‘traditional theories presuming a dominant function for personal opportunism had reached the terminal of their utile life ‘ ( Turner et al. , 1994 ) .


The article of involvement aimed to utilize self-categorisation theory to better understand the knowledges behind the ego and the collective. The article was effectual in using SCT to understanding the ego and collective, and in bend in understanding group procedures and intergroup dealingss. Self and corporate individualities are comparative to one another and to context fluctuations and this is portrayed continuously throughout the article. The writers were effectual in pass oning their statements through the usage of illustrations, both empirical and conjectural. However, a failing lies in the cognitive and perceptual focal point of the theory and a deficiency of recognition to motivational factors behind societal classifications, group procedures and intergroup dealingss. Possibly the utilizations of SCT in understand the ego and collective can be farther developed to include motivational and affectional factors through farther research.

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