The Interaction Between the Individual and the Collective Self: Self-Categorization in Context
It is particularly appropriate to use SCT to analyze the interaction between individual and collective selves because it has an interactionist metatheory (Turner, 1999). That is, it tries to understand experience and behavior as the product of an interaction between psychological variables (individual and collective selves) and "social reality" (social structure, social context). In other words, both organismic (internal, self-related) and contextual variables are of importance in determining experience and behavior, and attaching primacy to either can be problematic (Spears, Doosje, & Ellemers, 1999). This interaction will be a recurring theme in this chapter, and it is one dimension of, and input into, the more specific interaction between individual and collective selves. This interaction is a dynamic and ongoing process in which self and context shift in relation to each other. Just as context can help to determine self, self is used to interpret context (and through action may, in turn, change it).