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Muzafer Sherif on Social Identity - Dictionary of Arguments

Haslam I 157
Social identitySherif: The theoretical perspectives that are most directly indebted to Sherif and his colleagues are those that have, like him, eschewed an individualistic approach to intergroup relations: in particular, social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1979)(1) and self-categorization theory (Turner et al., 1987(2).
(…) there are fundamental differences between Sherif’s analysis and the social identity approach (>Social identity theory/Tajfel).
Sherif: (Sherif et al. 1961(3), 1969(4)) focused on the analysis of ‘structural properties of group interaction and formation, group products … and the reciprocal functional relationships between groups and individual members’ (Sherif and Cantril, 1947(5): 282). >Social groups/Sherif, >Group behavior/Sherif, >Robbers Cave experiment/Sherif.
TajfelVsSherif: Analyses of these relationships, however, are less important in social identity analyses of intergroup behaviour – in part, as a result of Henri Tajfel’s own minimal group studies which established that group-based behaviour could emerge in the absence of intragroup interdependence, structure and roles. >Social identity theory/Tajfel.



1. Tajfel, H. and Turner, J.C. (1979) ‘An integrative theory of intergroup conflict’, in W.G. Austin and S. Worchel (eds), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole. pp. 33–48.
2. Turner, J.C., Hogg, M.A., Oakes, P.J., Reicher, S. and Wetherell, M.S. (1987) Rediscovering the Social Group: A Self-categorization Theory. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
3. Sherif, M., Harvey, O.J., White, B.J., Hood, W.R. and Sherif, C.W. (1961) Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation: The Robbers Cave Experiment. Norman, OK: Institute of Group Relations, University of Oklahoma.
4 .Sherif, M. and Sherif, C.W. (1969) Social Psychology. New York: Harper & Row.
5. Sherif, M. and Cantril, H. (1947) The Psychology of Ego-involvements. New York: Wiley.


Michael W. Platow and John A. Hunter, „ Intergroup Relations and Conflicts. Revisiting Sherif’s Boys’ Camp studies“, in: Joanne R. Smith and S. Alexander Haslam (eds.) 2017. Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic studies. London: Sage Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Sherif, Muzafer
Haslam I
S. Alexander Haslam
Joanne R. Smith
Social Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2017


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-06-26
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