chapter  2
18 Pages

A Homecoming to the Individual Self: Emotional and Motivational Primacy

This chapter explores a number of ways in which individual and collective selves can be distinguished, act independently or even an-tagonistically, and how they interact. It uses self-categorization theory (SCT) as a guiding frame-work with which to understand these two levels of self, without privileging either. A simplistic reading of SCT also underestimates the extent to which the collective and individual identities can be, respectively, individually and collectively defined. This theoretical framework was supplemented with an overview of contextual conditions that can influence the ways in which self is activated, accentuated, and strategically managed. Although it is important to distinguish the form and content of self, it sometimes need to dig beneath the surface of the self to appreciate which level of self is motivating behavior. The distinction between individual and collective selves as referring to levels of self-definition tied to interpersonal and intergroup contexts therefore remains a powerful analytic tool that helps us to make sense of their interaction.