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Marina Kotova1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Identity Management Strategies: Significance for the Social Identity Theory and Understanding of Intergroup Relations (in Russian)

2016. Vol. 13. No. 4. P. 691–711 [issue contents]

The present article addresses the notion of identity management strategies. The significance of this concept for development of Social Identity Theory and understanding of intergroup relations is discussed. Contradictions that were found while testing the interrelations between ingroup identification, ingroup favoritism, attitudes toward outgroups, and self-esteem serve as a starting point for the author’s reasoning. In order to find causes of such contradictions and possible ways of their solving the author performed theoretical analysis of methodological and empirical research based on Social Identity Theory, as well as functional analysis in related areas. Based on this analysis two suggestions were made. Firstly, Social Identity Theory implicitly contains two meanings of social identity that could lead to discrepancies in empirical results. On the one hand, identity is regarded as just an intermediate element between categorization and comparison, on the other hand, identity is a substantive phenomenon supported by the range of management strategies. Secondly, identity management strategies could specify functions that identity carries out for both an individual and a group. Nevertheless, Social Identity Theory focuses only on those functions that identity carries out for the individual himself. Shifting the focus toward functions that identity executes for a group leads to new suggestions about the initial contradictions. First of all, this leads to doubts in personal self-esteem enhancement as the only “ultimate goal” of strong group commitment. Moreover, this leaves the question open, “at whose expense” the positivity of identity is maintained in the process of intergroup comparisons. Hence, one can expect that while some identity management strategies bring positive outcomes for outgroup attitudes, other strategies bring negative outcomes, which makes identity management strategies a crucial explanatory construct for the study of intergroup relations.

Citation: Kotova, M. (2016) Identity Management Strategies: Significance for the Social Identity Theory and Understanding of Intergroup Relations. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 13(4), 691-711 (in Russian)
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