Who We Are and Who We Choose to Help (or Not): An Introduction to Social Identity Theory

Morgana Lizzio-Wilson, Zahra Mirnajafi, Winnifred R. Louis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


When are people willing to advocate for social change, and how do we understand their resistance to such efforts? In this chapter, we provide a brief, broad overview of Social Identity Theory (SIT) and then discuss specific social identity processes which increase intergroup discrimination (i.e., distinctiveness threat, group-value threat, internalisation of group norms) and contextual factors which enhance the likelihood of these responses (i.e., perceived legitimacy, stability, and permeability of status differences between advantaged and disadvantaged groups). We then outline how social identities could be leveraged to improve intergroup relations and solidarity. Specifically, we discuss how dual and politicised identities can be used to galvanize members of advantaged groups to act on behalf of disadvantaged groups and provide suggestions for how these identities may be cultivated.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSolidarity and Social Justice in Contemporary Societies
Subtitle of host publicationAn Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Inequalities
EditorsMara A. Yerkes, Michèlle Bal
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-93795-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-93794-2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Social Identity Theory
  • ingroup favouritism
  • outgroup derogation
  • social identity threat
  • distinctiveness threat
  • group-value threat
  • discrimination
  • Norms
  • politicised identity
  • common ingroup identity model
  • common ingroup identity
  • dual identity
  • Social identity
  • collective action
  • solidarity
  • Social change
  • Social Identity Model of Collective Action


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