Social Identity Theory Of Crowd Behavior

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Crowd behavior also termed Mob or Herd mentality explains the cohesive social behavioral patterns exhibited by individuals who are in a large group- in essence, large number of people acting coherently in the same manner. To discover the psychological basis for this coherence, this paper will explore the implications of social identity theory on crowd behaviors. Utilizing, Social identity theory to understand the bias that permeate in various social context such as the “Racist Chelsea Fans” controversy in 2015.

Social Identity Theory coined in 1970 by Henri Tajfel and John Turner explores the social dynamics of intergroup relations and its implications to normative behavior (Tajfel & Turner, 2004). Centralized around the multifaceted social
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Reicher (1984) surmise that; identification is derived from the accentuated perceived similarities by group members in which they adopt a sense of homogeneity. Therefore, providing the basis for stereotypical norm to which group members conform. For example, social identification is illustrated by chanting songs unique to the club, similarly exhibited by chanting racial slurs; “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” (Gibson, 2015). Echoing the old aphorism; “safety in numbers” the philosophy behind the theory of deindividuation provide an interesting insight into the morphology of group discriminations. Derived from Le Bon’s text on crowd psychology in 1897; deindividuation implies that the sense of anonymity in groups leads group members to lose all sense of individuality thereby, relinquishing all sense of accountability to the group (Le Bon, 1897). In contrast, according to Hoggs, (1996) the process of depersonalization; describes actions of others as embodiment of the in-group normative behaviors, rather than the actions of a unique individual. For instance; social stereotyping, ethnocentrism, and group-cohesion. However, unlike deindividuation that denotes loss of individuality Hoggs (1996) asserts that depersonalization is a change in the level of identity from unique individual to group…show more content…
For instance; the Chelsea supporters perceived the black man as a French supporter due to his similar ethnicity to the French team while, the English team was mostly Caucasian. Uniformity of perception and action among in-group members exhibited by the Chelsea fans is the fundamental premise of the social-comparative model. According to Stets and Burke (2000), group comparison skews perception that positively portrays in-group members and negatively depict out-group members. This result in self-enhancing outcome such as feelings of superiority derived from the formation and maintenance of self-concept (i.e. Chelsea is the best in the league). Self-concept described by Brewer and Gardner (1996), as an interdependent characteristic of social comparison; construe the relationship between the attainment of self-worth from appropriate group behavior. For example, if Chelsea scored a goal against the French team in the Champions League collective celebration ensues as self-esteem is enhanced, underscoring the underlying assumption of group of superiority. Moreover, the distinction between interpersonal and intergroup comparison in the context of self-evaluation was featured in an experiment led by Weber and Brewer (1994). According to the study, college students tend to over-estimate academic and intellectual achievement when making upward social
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