Complementing Individualism with The Social Identity Approach

It seems, then, that the  social identity approach even complements individualism in one of its most traditional domains. But note that this does not imply that  moral conviction cannot be based in the individual. From the perspective of the social identityapproach, the basis of  moral conviction should be viewed in the light of the social context that makes salient individuals` individual or  social identity. If individuals` personal identity is salient, their individual moral convictions may be difficult to change, and their negative responses to moral threats difficult to prevent. However, if individuals`  social identity is salient (as was presumably the case in the studies I described), then their collective moral convictions as well as their responses to moral threats may be influenced by what fellow group members think, feel, and do. In other words, the  social identity approach truly complements individualism, even when it comes to psychological phenomena that are often deemed to be at the very core of who we individually are. As I have argued in this article, this has an important implication for psychologists. If we want our theories to be more predictive of every-day life (where groups are all but absent), we need to incorporate the social identityapproach in our thinking. In fact, there is no reason not to acknowledge its importance in psychology, and beyond.


1Editor’s Note: ‘Fitna’ is the title of a movie recently released by Dutch parlementarian Geert Wilders. In the movie, Wilders links the Qur’an to terrorism, Islamic rule, and Islam in the Netherlands, and equates Islam with violence. It has now been renounced by the Dutch government. The original movie can be watched here: Fitna


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