All people have an identity of some kind, some have many identities. Firstly we have personal identity which is to do with how we and others view ourselves in terms of personality and characteristics.
Secondly we have social identity which is how we fit in to the broader picture in terms of religion, occupation and nationality for example.
Most people want to belong to some sort of group as this provides a sense of identity, belonging and acceptance. ‘A person who gains some self esteem and a sense of belonging from being part of a group is also likely to be happier than one who has few roles and identifications’ Spoors et al., (2011 p136) Unfortunately the group influence is not always positive and could lead a person (by fitting in with group norms and pressures) to be influenced in ways that they would not normally, and behave in a prejudiced and discriminatory manner towards the ‘outgroup’
‘Ingroups’ are the members of the group to which we belong and ‘outgroups’ are the collection of people who are not in our group. For example; in race we have ‘whites’ which are my ingroup and ‘coloured people’ who are my outgroup, although the division between groups is not always so simplistic.
In this essay we will explore further the concept that groups can influence people in positive and negative ways.
Firstly the story of ‘Kondo’, shows both the positive and negative influence of groups on the individual. Kondo is a Japanese American girl taking part in participation- observation research in Japan over a twenty six month period. She is immediately confronted with peoples puzzlement and distaste as she does not fulfil the conceptual schema (a collection of information and characteristics that are expected) of someone who looks like a native Japanese person. ’It was clear that coping with this anomalous creature was difficult, for here was someone who looked like a real human being, but simply failed to perform according to...