that officially make known minority viewpoints are generally widely stigmatised by the majority as social out-groups (Vaughan and Hogg, 1997). For many theorists, Social Identity (group membership) is an important source of self-esteem, they will cherish what identities they have, fiercely preserving their positive aspects of out-groups, whilst engaging in pronounced in-group/out-group differentiation (Cited in Hogg & Abram, 1988, p 74). Some of us have 'mixed' identities, we are gay, and also we are part of another group - Maori men and women (Cherry, 1995). Groups may have one identity in the eyes of the world and a somewhat different identity in the eyes of the membership (Breakwell, 1983). This paper discusses the notion that minority groups within minority groups find social group identity difficult, in relation to in-group/out-group formations. The first part of this paper will examine claims made by researchers that there are many aspects of minority influence that suggest the operation of an underlying attribution process (Kelly, 1967, Cited in Vaughan and Hogg, 1997, p 138). The second part of the paper provides autobiographical reports made by individuals within minority groups. The third section will outline findings of research, suggesting that the distinction between social and personal identity has become central to theorising about the self.
1: Part One.
that promote minority viewpoints are generally displaced by the majority as social out-groups or as deviant individuals. Their views are, at best rejected (as not important), and are often ridiculed or trivialised in an attempt to discredit them (for example, the treatment of gays and/or feminists). Research confirms that minorities exert more influence if they are perceived by the majority as ingroup members (Cited in Vaughan and Hogg, 1997, p 137). For example, straight males' attitudes towards homosexuality are more like to become normalised if the in-group favours this attitude (i.e., group norm), that is if other straight males within a normalised in-group promulgate the same attitude, rather than the out-group (homosexual males).
Moscovici (1980), argued that majorities and minorities exert influences through different processes. Minority influence is more related to direct public compliance on a normative or informal level as opposed to the majority views, which are accepted without much thought. In contrast, minority influence is said to be indirect and/or latent (Moscovici 1980, Cited in Vaughan and Hogg, 1997, p 137). Minorities produce a conversion effect stemmed from active consideration from a minority point of view. The conversion effect is defined as a "minority influence brought about by a sudden and dramatic inner and personal change in the attitudes of a majority" (Vaughan and Hogg, 1997), and is expected to take longer to manifest itself as opposed to compliance through majority influence.
Maass & Clark (1983, 1986) reported three experiments investigating public and personal reactions to the issue of gay rights. In one of these experiments Maass & Clark, (1983), found that publicly expressed attitudes conformed to the majority view (that is, if the majority was pro- gay, then so were the subjects), whereas personally expressed attitudes supported the minority (Maass & Clark 1983, 1986, Cited in Vaughan and Hogg, 1997, p 137). Although support promotes the idea that minority influence produces indirect, latent inner change while majority influence produces direct immediate behavioural compliance. Hogg and Abrams (1988), view group membership is an important source of self-esteem. Specifically, a motive for positive self- regard or self-esteem.
In-groups stereotypes tend to be more favourable and out-groups less favourable. Hogg and Abrams, (1988) state that " self-categorisation imbues the self with all the attributes of the group, and so it is important that such attributes are ones which reflect well on the self. Furthermore, People (and societies) are motivated to try to achieve wide acceptance that in- group/out-group categorisation is correlated with only those focal dimensions which reflect well on the in-group (Cited in Hogg and Abrams, 1988, p 74).
Critique of Conformity Research
Individuals and groups are always being swayed to adopt the views and practices of the growing numerical majority. Social influence research adopts a conformity perspective in which individuals are dependent on majorities for normative and informational reasons. Moscovici and collegues believe there is a conformity bias which considers all social influence as serving an adaptive requirement of human life - to adapt to the status quo and thus produce uniformity and perpetuate stability (Vaughan and Hogg, 1977, 135). Furthermore, Moscovici, (1972), believed there to be disagreement and conflict within groups, which consist of three modalities.
1. Conformity - majority influence in which majority coherts the minority to accept overruling viewpoints of the majority.
2. Normalisation - mutual compromise leading to convergence.
3. Innovation - minority create heightened conflict to persuade the majority to accept minority viewpoints.
Hogg and Abrams (1988), describe how from a social identity, groups categorise by their respective norms, which describe and prescribe attributes, characterising one group and differentiating it from other groups. (Hogg & Abrams, 1988). Promoting the view that groups behaviour is synonymous with normative behaviour. Intragroup consensus, agreement and uniformity are brought about by a relative from of social influence responsible conformity to group norms, called referent informational influence (Hogg and Abrams, 1988, p 172). Referent informational influences exist at three stages; firstly, people categorise and define themselves as belonging to a distinct social category and or social identity; secondly, form or learn stereotypical norms of that category; and thirdly, apply these norms to themselves, hence behaviour becomes more normative as the membership becomes more salient (Cited in Hogg & Abrams, 1988, p 172).
2: Part Two.
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