Identity Theories

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Summarise two theories of identity and compare their usefulness for explaining the real-world issues discussed in Chapter 1, ‘Identities and Diversities ’ I aim to present two psychological theories; Psychosocial-Identity-Theory and Social-Identity-theory (SIT)including their historical and biographical context and corresponding theorizers as it is likely that they were greatly shaped by these factors. Erik Erikson’s theory of Psychosocial-Identity associates identity as being shaped in response to society as well as personal factors. Whereas, Henry Tajfel’s theory ( SIT) is that individuals identify with specific groups and form an identity based on this and not personal conceptions. Both are prominent theories which are theoretically supported. I will introduce and explain the theories concisely and weigh-up their effectiveness by process of application to a practical matter. This applied issue will be physical-disabilities and associated discrimination, as presented in ‘Identities and diversities’ Chapter one, and its association to creating identity . The nature of Tajfel’s theory can be understood by introducing his background. As a Jewish Holocaust-survivor, who faced much prejudice and discrimination directed by Nazi partisans , he showed a keen interest in studying conceptions of group-identities and how prejudice within groups are established and retained. His theory is based on the notion that identities are produced socially and aren’t personal. He aimed to validate that simply classifying individuals into groups produced a state whereby in-group favouring and out-group discrimination occurred. He theorised that individuals create an understanding of self in correlation to group of association. Identities are formed by process of mirroring and developing behaviours, habits and beliefs from the social group(s) which people identify with- otherwise known as identification. The natural response to this is that diversity is produced which in turn leads...
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