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Multiple Identities

In large and complex societies, individuals are differentiated or subdivided along many meaningful social dimensions, including gender and sexual orientation, life stage (e.g., student, worker, retiree), economic sector (e.g., technology, service, academics, professional), religion, political ideology, and recreational preferences. Each of these divisions provides a basis for shared identity and group membership that may become an important source of social identification. Further, most of these differentiations are crosscutting in the sense that individuals may share a common ingroup membership on one dimension but belong to different categories on another dimension. Hence, having multiple group memberships reduces the likelihood that one's social world can be reduced to a single ingroup-versus-outgroup distinction. The fact that people have multiple, crosscutting social identities has important implications for ingroup identification ...

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