For this essay, I will be discussing how groups of people that we have in our lives can affect us in both a positive and a negative way and how people identify with different groups, and drawing on appropriate evidence. Sharing some parts of our social identity can also influence people to behave or act in certain ways and membership of groups can be a positive influence on people, by helping to make us feel like we belong, giving us a sense of identity or status, increasing our self-esteem and giving us some sense of security and/or safety. At the same time, we tend to take on a role within those groups and often feel the need to bend to peer pressure in order to conform to tendencies within those groups and act in ways in which we would not normally behave. This can lead to competitiveness, prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination against others outwith our social groups. I will now look at three extracts of experiments, mentioned in Spoors et al (2007), and describe how membership of groups can influence people both positively and negatively.
The first example of positive and negative influences within groups is taken from an extract from a book, whose title is “Kondo’s Story”, written by Dorinne Kondo as a personal account of her experience as a Japanese American who goes to live in Japan for 26 months to do some academic research, staying with a Japanese family and immersing herself in that culture. She found this experience challenging and quite disturbing at first as, through her interactions with Japanese people, she found she was being subtly trained in new ways of behaviour and routines. She mentions that she identified roles for herself such as housewife, guest/daughter, young woman, granddaughter, student and prodigal Japanese. The social expectations that Kondo felt surrounded her included being subservient to the male of the household during meals – this included the head of the household being served first and receiving the finest...
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