chapter  1
28 Pages

Motivational, emotional, and cultural influences in social identity processes

WithRupert Brown, Dora Capozza

Our aim in this chapter is to examine three sets of issues that were little analyzed in the original social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1986): the nature of group identification, the impact of culture on self-conceptions, and intergroup emotions. Theories of ingroup identification will be reviewed, such as the optimal distinctiveness theory of Brewer (1991) and the model of subjective uncertainty reduction of Hogg and Abrams (1993; see also Hogg, 2000). We will then consider research on cultural differences with regard to the self-concept and the influence on behavior of self-criticism and self-enhancement motivations (Heine, 2001; Heine, Lehman, Markus, & Kitayama, 1999). Our aim is to analyze whether the relationship between need for self-esteem and intergroup differentiation, hypothesized by social identity theory and found in Western cultures, can also be valid for Eastern cultures. The subject of the final section will be intergroup emotions – the anxiety which is felt during early interactions with outgroup members; the empathy which may arise when knowledge of outgroup exemplars becomes more intimate; the anger, fear, and desire to hurt which are experienced when an attack injures members of the ingroup. We discuss how intergroup emotions can play a mediating role in many intergroup contexts, often controlling the positive effects of contact on intergroup representations and attitudes toward the ingroup and outgroup. Thus we hope to show how the recent motivational perspectives, an evaluation of the cultural generality or specificity of social identity processes, and the study of intergroup emotions have raised new problems and extended the range of group phenomena explained.