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Describe The Similarities And Differences In The Way Identity Is Conceptualised By The Psychosocial Theory Of Identity And Social Identity Theory

1896 words - 8 pages

Part 1 Essay

Describe the similarities and differences in the way identity is conceptualised by the psychosocial theory of identity and social identity theory.

I will start this essay by explaining both theories, Psychosocial theory and Social Identity Theory mentioning what is understood by identity and answering my essay question describing their similarities and differences.

Identity is a major area of study for Psychology. Over the decades many psychologists in the field tried to explain what identity was, and are still to explain how it is formed. Identity is what defines us as human beings, what we do on our day-to-day life, and our interactions within society. ...view middle of the document...

There was a standing by period where adolescents could postpone the change from adolescence to adulthood where responsibilities and life changing decisions had to be made (ego identity). To this period Erikson called the ‘Psychosocial Moratorium’ where adolescents were excused from taking responsibilities without experiencing it first (as cited in Phoenix, 2007, p.55).

Erikson identify as an identity crisis where adolescents had problems in accepting their growing and the lack of not knowing who they were. Individuals were at war with themselves trying to find their role in society (role dysfunction) and secure their ego identity – ‘secure felling of who and what one is’ (as cited in Phoenix, 2007, p.55).

In adolescence, adolescents turn to bulling to disguise their fear of losing their identity, and being cruel is a defence mechanism, hence their link to groups ideals not to lose this identity, which easily could identify the outsiders from the insiders (as cited in Phoenix, 2007, p.56).

Marcia (1966, 1980, 1994) used a method that could measure Erikson’s theory in a form of a semi-structured interview. This method allowed a conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee, as questions could be asked in different order and it was open questions rather that questioner type.

The researcher would tape the conversation so it could be used the interviewee own words. This method was time consuming as samples had to be transcript and analysed, but the benefit was that quantitative and qualitative data could be extracted.

Marcia developed the stages created by Erikson where stage 5 was subdivided in other 4 stages:

Identity diffusion – adolescents are not committed to any young adulthood transition/responsibilities or exploring different roles in society/groups.

Identity foreclosure – adolescents assume an identity to ‘copy’ a parent or have an authoritarian personality, strict views of what is right or wrong and do not explore other roles in society.

Moratorium – Adolescents that would explore every stage of its adolescence, every role possible, without commit to any in particular, even though they knew what a commitment is.

Marcia argues that moratorium is a pre-requisite for identity achievement (as cited in Phoenix, 2007, p.60).

Identity achievement – The stage that successful adolescents achieve after the moratorium process. Adolescents explore their various options in life without committing to any without knowing for sure what they want in life.

Social Identity theory

Tajfel contrasting Erikson’s and Marcia’s theory of identity, developed that instead of our identity derived from individuality it would grow from social interactivity and group integration (as cited in Phoenix, 2007, p.62).

Tajfel’s students named this theory as Social Identity Theory (SIT). He divided identity into 2 sub-classes, one personal identity (relationships) and the other as a social identity...

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