The Formation of In-groups

Topics: Psychology, Birth order, Family Pages: 4 (1432 words) Published: November 27, 2013
The author of this piece is Dr. Gordon Allport. He is the former head of Harvard’s Department of Psychology as well as the founding father of social psychology. Allport published many books including The Nature of Prejudice (1954). The purpose of the article is to inform the audience that in-groups are everywhere and identity is based on our in-groups. This essay is an excerpt from the book The Nature of Prejudice in 1954 and is a credible source because the principles Allport discussed are still studied by psychologists and researchers today. In the essay, Allport speaks of reference groups and how it relates to in-groups. According to Allport reference groups are the group that an individual wishes to be apart of, but an in-group is one that a person is in. He describes the differences as relating to each other, but different in the fact that in-groups and reference groups differ by the individuals desire to be in his in-group or not. Allport also discusses in-groups based on sex. The author uses Lord Chesterfield as a source to act as a counterargument and to make a point of the elements of prejudice, and how it shows favoritism with one’s own group. The author uses an example from the passage to prove to the audience that not all in-group loyalties are static and loyalties depend on the individual and can change. To sum up Allport’s discussion of in-groups, he talks about the presence of out-groups and how they affect in-groups. He argues that although competition with an out-group makes an in-group more solidified, a hostile interaction and competition with the out-group is not necessary. The thesis of the article seeks to provide reasoning for in-groups; Allport comments, “while we sometimes do become bored with our daily routine of living and with some of our customary companions, yet the very values that sustain our lives depend for their force upon their familiarity” (170). Allport’s statement directly speaks to every individual in the audience to...
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