Communication as Social Identity

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Communication as Social Identity #10:

Communication as Social Identity #10 By: Regina Crawford & Tamara Linares EDS 877



Don’t be a lemming.:

Don’t be a lemming.

Celebrate our differences:

Celebrate our differences

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Individuals are studied by how they walk and why they talk.

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Relationships are also examined – personal or intimate “Our selves tend to be understood as very “personal” selves, operating as autonomous units, either unconnected to others, or connected as a function of the rewards provided to the individual (Harwood, p. 84).”

Less than human level?:

Less than human level? Lashing out at authority, property, people Rioters throwing objects Football hooligans on a rampage Disorganized groups Vandalism Destruction of private property THOUGHTS?

According to Harwood…:

According to Harwood… When people act upon collective interests, they are usually considered in deviant or pathological terms. Pathological= being such to a degree that is extreme, excessive, or markedly abnormal < a pathological liar > < pathological fear> -Merriam Webster Online Dictionary

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“The social identity/self categorization approach offers a different take on our social experiences (Tajfel & Turner, 1986; Oakes, Haslam, & Turner, 1994) p. 84.” Individuals can be understood at different levels of abstraction At the personal identity level -people are concerned with our differences from other individuals and what makes us unique. On the brighter side

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At the social identity level -people are concerned with their group’s differences from other groups and what makes their group unique. On the brighter side

Intergroup approach:

Intergroup approach Draws attention to the contribution of both sides in a crowd situation Intergroup approach and social identity theory are useful ways to approach human communication

Intergroup Perspective:

Intergroup Perspective Mass Communication

Mass Communication:

Mass Communication Social identification with a particular demographic group Portrayals of that group influence viewing Young people like to watch shows with young people and vice versa More individualistic approach

Intergroup Perspective:

Intergroup Perspective Group Communication

Group Communication:

Group Communication Group leaders evaluated on how similar they are to their typical members The more similar they are with their members, the more they can “get away with” certain behaviors Small-group leaders tend to focus on interpersonal dynamics and need to focus on how and when people identify with their group Big-groups are large-scale collective groups such as ethnic groups Small-groups and large-groups can be similar

Intergroup Perspective:

Intergroup Perspective Family Communication

Family Communication:

Family Communication Identification with the family as a social group is key element in family harmony & positive communication Examples: step families, grandparents, interracial families, interfaith families, etc. Communication is key

Intergroup Perspective:

Intergroup Perspective Instructional Communication

Instructional Communication:

Instructional Communication Students who relate to their instructors (perceive themselves as having social group similarities) tend to positively evaluate their instructors Identification with the class as a whole might be the key in high in-class participation rates

Intergroup Perspective:

Intergroup Perspective Intercultural Communication

Intercultural Communication:

Intercultural Communication Fundamental dimension of ethnic and cultural identity People use language to signify their identity, and people respond to language in terms of their social identity Conflicts: French in Quebec, Aboriginal language in Australia, Welsh language, Catalán and Basque in Spain, Spanish in public schools, etc. Cannot be fully understood without considering the extent to which people in a particular culture are invested

Intergroup Perspective:

Intergroup Perspective Communication & Technology

Communication & Technology:

Communication & Technology People often think they are communicating anonymously and free of stereotypes However, grouping may become apparent via names or self-identification. May gain more power this way. May be especially characterized by group-level behaviors, collective identities, and group-based communications


Conclusion “The times when we communicate truly as individuals unencumbered by one group membership or another are actually fairly rare. To be a part of a group is to be truly human, and to ignore that is to sever ties that are very important to people (Harwood, p.89).”


Resources Harwood, J., Shepherd. G. J., Hohn, J. S., & Striphas, T. G. (2006). Communcation as a social Identity. Communication as….Perspectives on Theory, 84-90. http:// http://