This book presents a new theory of the social group which seeks to explain how individuals become unified into a group and capable of collective behaviour. It represents an important step forward in the seminal programme of research on social categorization and social identity carried out by John Turner and his colleagues with the late Henri Tajfel. The work challenges the dominant theory of the social group in psychology, that of social independence. It argues that individuals become a group not in so far as they develop personal relationships based on the mutual satisfaction of their needs, but by developing a shared social categorization of themselves in contrast to others, a shared perception of "us" in contrast to "them". The text summarizes classic psychological theories of the group, describes and explains the important effects of group membership on social behaviour, outlines self-categorization theory in full and shows how the general perspective has been applied in research on group formation and cohesion, social influence, the polarization of social attitudes, crowd psychology and social stereotyping.
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