Group Dynamics: The Elaborated Social Identity Model

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    • 00:05

      [Group Dynamics, The Elaborated Social Identity Model]

    • 00:09

      JOHN DRURY: I'm Dr. John Drury. [Dr. John Drury,Reader in Social Psychology, The University of Sussex]I'm a reader in social psychologyat the University of Sussex.I'm going to present a case study on the Elaborated SocialIdentity Model, or ESIM for short.Some background to this first of all.The ESIM is an extension of self-categorization theory.

    • 00:30

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: ESIM was developed by Steve Reicher, Clifford Stott,and myself to explain the conditionsunder which a peaceful crowd might become conflictual.The background to that was that early theoriesof crowd behavior had simply reified crowd violenceinto a given feature of the psychology of crowd members.

    • 00:52

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: Reicher's early work on the St. Paul's riot,[St. Paul's riot April, 2, 1980] showedthat crowd behavior is limited by the social identity sharedby crowd participants.This is the evidence and the theoretical model based on itdid not explain the intergroup dynamicsof psychological change in crowd events.And this is what the ESIM seeks to do.

    • 01:17

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: The ESIM describes a pattern thathas been observed in many different crowd events,including student protests, environmental direct actions,a football crowd conflict.For this case study, I'm going to outline the key featuresof the ESIM using as an illustrationa study carried out by Clifford Stott

    • 01:39

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: and myself on a demonstration marchthat took place in London in 1990 [demonstrationmarch, London, March 31,1990] and whichbecame one of the biggest riots in the capital for a century.In this case study, I will be covering the model, the study,which is the Poll Tax Riot, ESIM concepts, ESIM

    • 02:00

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: conditions, and ESIM dynamics, and a summary.[Model]The ESIM can be broken down into concepts, conditions,and dynamics.For concepts, ESIM understands identity

    • 02:22

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: as a model call of action in relation to others.And because identity operates as action,it serves as a context within which other people understandand define themselves.Secondly, conditions, by which I mean conditions for conflict,

    • 02:43

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: and there are two of these.First of all, an asymmetry of categorical representations--that is, competing definitions between groups,such as the police and the crowd, of legitimate conductbased on the group's social identity.Secondly, an asymmetry of power, it's not sufficient

    • 03:05

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: that groups have different understandingsof appropriate conduct.What also matters is that one of the groupshas the power to turn that representationinto a reality for the other group to understand itself.Thirdly, then dynamics occur whenoutgroup action, such as action by the police,is experienced by the crowd as illegitimate, as unfair, et

    • 03:30

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: cetera, and indiscriminate.Indiscriminate outgroup action can unifiedand, hence, empower the crowd in grouparound a new norm of conflict.[The Study]So now, we'd like to say a bit about the study,

    • 03:52

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: a bit about the methods, and a bit about the Poll Tax Riotitself.So in terms of methods, this studywas an ethnographic study, which meant that the data consistedof field notes, video data, interviews with participants,written accounts from participants and witnesses,

    • 04:13

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: and police sources.Analysis took place in two stages.What we do first of all is we construct a consensual accountof what happened.So this is an account which different sides agree upon,which orientates the reader to the kinds of things

    • 04:34

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: that need to be explained.The second part of the analysis focuseson the perceptions itself and looksat how participants actually understood what happened.So before I focus on the analysisof people's perceptions, just briefly a consensual accountof the key phases of the riot.

    • 04:57

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: And there were four phases.First of all, there was a very peaceful assemblyin Kennington Park in the first phase.The second phase of the event waswhen there was congestion and a sit-down protestsalong Whitehall.

    • 05:17

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: And police intervention began at this phase.And the conflict began.The third phase of the event was the widespread conflictin Trafalgar Square.And the fourth phase of the eventwas the property damage and looting in the West End.And this case study will focus on phases one, two, and three.

    • 05:40

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: [Concepts]So now, I'm going to talk through the different partsof the ESIM by tracing them against the timelineof the events.So first of all then concepts, sowhat I want to talk about now is identities and context

    • 06:03

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: in phase one of the event.So here, looking at how people talked about themselvesand how people define themselves, and what we foundis that people define themselves in termsof the protest against the poll tax.The poll tax was this unfair tax,and people talked about that as the thing thatunited all the different people coming together on that day.

    • 06:25

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: So just to read you an extract, so whatunited all the different people?Thinking the poll tax is really, you know,we were quite justified to be there.It was unfair.So the people that we interviewedstressed the legitimacy of being on the demonstration,because the poll tax was unfair.They also stressed the illegitimacy of violence.

    • 06:51

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: And some of our interviewees talkedabout a vote which was taken in Kennington Park at the assemblywhen everybody was asked to raise their handsand put their hands in the air if they were against violence.So that's the first point.People stressed what united them with their oppositionto the unfair poll tax.However, there was also differentiation

    • 07:12

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: within the crowd, in that people stressed the variety of peopleon the event.There were so many different groups,and that was one of the defining features.There were nuns against the poll tax.There were bikers against the poll tax.There were people from different towns.There were very many different political groups.So that was the first level of differentiation.

    • 07:34

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: A second level of differentiationwas that people's distinguished themselvesfrom the minority they perceived to be seeking confrontation.[Conditions]And now, conditions, focusing on phase two, the congestion

    • 07:55

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: and initiation of conflict in Whitehall,looking at crowd participant perceptions first of all,they talked about a sit-down protest outside Downing Streetas traditional.They talked about people having their sandwiches on the MODlawn as unthreatening.They talked about instance of can-throwing

    • 08:16

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: as minor and sporadic.They talked about them as unrepresentativeof the crowd as a whole.But then looking at police perceptions, policesaw these separate incidents-- the sit-down protest,people eating their sandwiches on the lawn,and the cans being thrown-- as together constituting

    • 08:38

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: a threat to public order.They were seen as dangerous.They also described the cans being thrown at themas a barrage, a barrage of cans and spittingnext to Downing Street.They also said that the small group who sought conflictwere powerful and representative of the crowd.

    • 09:01

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: They didn't differentiate them from the rest of the crowd.In one of the interviews, we spoketo one of the senior officers in charge of the policingof Downing Street.And he described in detail the danger he saw in the crowd.And what's interesting about his accountis the way that he draws upon themes from academic crowd

    • 09:22

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: psychology to understand why the crowd was a danger.He said, "I think there were 2,000 people causingus problems.Some of those, I'm sure the vast majority,we're good, law-abiding people under normal circumstances.But when you're in a group like that,I'm sure that the fever of the cause, the fever of the day,

    • 09:45

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: the throwing and everything else,they get look together and think,'oh, we are part of this.' Something disengagesin their brain.I am not a medical man or an expert an crowd behavior,but something goes and they become part of the crowd."So the first ESIM condition for conflictis an asymmetry of categorical representations,

    • 10:07

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: which we have present here.On the one hand, there were crowd perceptionsof a legitimate, peaceful, traditional, protest by a mixedcrowd.On the other hand, there were police perceptionsof incipient, homogeneous danger and a illegitimate threatto what they saw as public order.

    • 10:27

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: The second ESIM condition for conflictis an asymmetry of power relations.And at this point, the police had the abilityto impose their perceptions in terms of actiontowards crowd members.They mobilized police horses, which entered crowd.Riot police were mobilized.

    • 10:48

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: And the police had the organizationto impose themselves on the crowdand to control what was going on around Downing Street.[Dynamics]So now, dynamics, first we look at participants' perceptionsof this police intervention.Since crowd participants saw themselves

    • 11:09

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: as acting legitimately, they saw the police interventionas illegitimate.First of all, it was unwarranted.One of our interviewees says, "the police seemedto have completely overreacted.There was nothing to warrant that kind of behavior."Another interviewee stresses how dangerousthe police behavior was.

    • 11:31

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: "They were just pushing everybody.People were nearly passing out.They were just hemming people in.It was just like Hillsborough."Not only did people stress the illegitimacyof police behavior, they also stressedthat it was indiscriminate.Crowd participants felt that theywere in danger as crowd members through police action

    • 11:54

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: against the crowd as a whole.One of our interviewees says, "they were justhitting everybody and just being so violent towards everybody.People got arrested at random."So here, we can see the first of a number of changes takingplace in the psychology of crowd participants during the event.

    • 12:14

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: First of all then, they change their definitionof legitimate conduct.Whereas at the beginning, people stressed the legitimacyof non-violent behavior, now action against the policebecame seen as legitimate.Participants described conflict with policeas defensive action, a normative means

    • 12:36

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: of preventing further illegitimate police action.So that's the first change.The second change was in terms power.If everybody in the crowd was perceivedto be equally likely to be subjected to aggressive policeactivity, then it meant that the crowd was a single group.They were one, single, unified, psychological entity,

    • 12:59

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: a single us in relation to a place outgroup.This new shared social identity, this perceptionof we-ness or unity was the basisof expectations of social supportamongst crowd members for ingroup normative actions,for actions in support of their group.

    • 13:19

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: This then was an empowerment process.One of our interviewees says, "every time something happened,this enormous roar would go out from the crowd.So you had a group of people that were actively involved,and then you had this mass of people who were not involvedbut were clearly supporting what was going on."Another one says, "the crowd went forward,

    • 13:42

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: because there were so many people,and there was quite strong feeling of powerbeing in such a big group.And like I said, I felt I had the right to be there."And then the third change that happenedwas in terms of the prototype of the group,because every category has a prototype.Now, if the category had changed,so had the category prototype.

    • 14:04

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: So now, those wanting to fight the policeare seen now as expressive of the wishes of the crowd,rather than alien to the crowd.And so anti-police and conflictual peoplestand for the crowd and become influential within the crowd,becoming undifferentiated from the rest of the crowd.[Subsequent Police Perceptions]

    • 14:28

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: So now, we look at how these dynamics fed backinto subsequent police perceptions.This spread of conflict across the crowdconfirmed initial police fears of a powerful minority,a gullible majority and uniformly hostile crowd.This meant that there was a dynamic of escalation,because the police then adopted further riot tactics.

    • 14:51

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: This, in turn, confirmed the crowd perceptionof an illegitimately violent and indiscriminate police force,and so on.[Summary]So to summarize, the ESIM addressesthe question of how a peaceful crowd might become conflictual.

    • 15:14

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: The ESIM can be broken down into three parts.First [MUTED] principally, identityis understood as a model of action in relation to others.Secondly, the conditions of conflict, there are two.First of all, an asymmetry of categorical representations,

    • 15:36

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: which means competing definitionsof legitimate conduct between a crowd and otherssuch as the police.But secondly, such an asymmetry is not efficient.There also needs to be an asymmetry of power,whereby one group has the abilityto impose its understandings of reality on the other.

    • 15:59

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: And then the third part is the dynamics,which refers to change.And there are two parts here.First of all, the outgroup actionis experienced by crowd members as illegitimateand indiscriminate.Secondly, when these conditions hold,the crowd ingroup becomes empowered through becoming

    • 16:22

      JOHN DRURY [continued]: unified, which then allows it to fight back and defend itself.

Group Dynamics: The Elaborated Social Identity Model

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Abstract

Dr. John Drury presents a case study of the St. Paul's poll tax riot of 1980 to demonstrate the Elaborated Social Identity Model, or ESIM. He explains that differing perceptions of the situation by the demonstrators and the police were a contributing factor in the conflict. As the police exercised theit power to confront what they perceived as a threat, the protesters were unified in identity and defensive reactions.

SAGE Video Cases
Group Dynamics: The Elaborated Social Identity Model

Dr. John Drury presents a case study of the St. Paul's poll tax riot of 1980 to demonstrate the Elaborated Social Identity Model, or ESIM. He explains that differing perceptions of the situation by the demonstrators and the police were a contributing factor in the conflict. As the police exercised theit power to confront what they perceived as a threat, the protesters were unified in identity and defensive reactions.

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