Social identity theory (SIT) is an interactionist social psychological theory of the role of self-conception and associated cognitive processes and social beliefs in group processes and intergroup relations. (Hogg, 2016 It was developed by social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner. It makes it possible to examine the concept of social identity from different levels of analysis by considering personal cognitive processes, interpersonal interactions and sociological processes together. (Hornsey, 2008)
According to the SIT, the cognitive action necessary for the formation of the group phenomenon is the social classification action. (Hogg, 2006) Social classification has several consequences. With the act of social classification, the distinction between in and outgroup (“us” and “them”) increases. The increase in the visibility of the distinction causes the similarity between members of the same group to be seen more than the differences between members of different groups. Another consequence of social classification is that it causes the individual to perform behaviors in accordance with the group prototype created for the group. The fact that people place themselves and other people in various categories as a result of social classification causes the formation of social groups. SIT also determined these cognitive processes in the formation of social groups and the motivational sources that ensure the continuation of intergroup behaviors. According to SIT, these motivational processes are positive self-development and uncertainty reduction.
Social Identity Theory is one of the most interesting and debated areas of modern science and has so far shown great success in explaining behavior among human groups. In this respect, it can be said that it is an important tool to help us understand people better.
Hogg, M.A. (2016). Social Identity Theory. In: McKeown, S., Haji, R., Ferguson, N. (eds) Understanding Peace and Conflict Through Social Identity Theory. Peace Psychology Book Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29869-6_1
Hornsey, M. J. (2008). Social Identity Theory and Self Categorization Theory: A Historical Review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(1), 204–222.
Hogg, M. (2006). Social Identity Theory: Contemporary Social Psychology Theories içinde, 111–136. Stanford University Press: California.