Essay On Social Identity Theory

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The narrative of violence in South African communities with regard to social action as it applies to the case study of the violent strike and killing of mine workers at Marikana in August 2012. On the 16th August 2012, there was a massacre of 34 workers by the South African state police at Lonmim Marikana. This essay aims to explain how the Social Identity Theory accounts for the violence in South African communities, with particular reference to the Marikana massacre. I am going to explain the concept of identity and show that the Social Identity Theory is useful in explaining violence in South African communities. According to the theory, a social identity is a person’s sense of who they are based on their group membership(s). Tajfel (1979) proposed that the groups which people belonged to were an important source of pride and self-esteem, and that groups give us a sense of belonging to the world. Individual social identities are identifications of the self as a certain kind of person whereas collective identities are identifications of the self with a group or category as a whole (Thoits & Virshup, 1997, p. 106). It has been found that leaders or employers not only direct and dictate, but are also capable of redefining the group norms and objectives (House & Shamir, 1993). Mine workers at Lomnin Marikana may…show more content…
For example, people may relate to each other or form categories with people of their region, social class, and ethnicity. Social categorization theory suggests group members who adopt a collective identity from social groups will be affected in a sense that their personal identity will change as they continue being an extension of the collective identity (Hogg & Vaughan, 2002). The Social Identity Theory would explain that as the number of mine workers who were striking increased, their collective identity became stronger as

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