This book brings together an international selection of prominent researchers at the forefront of this development. They reflect on the issue of individuality in the group and on how thinking about social identity has changed. Together, these chapters chart a key development in the field: how social identity perspectives inform understanding of cohesion, unity and collective action, but also how they help us understand individuality, agency, autonomy, disagreement, and diversity within groups.

Acting Like an Individual versus Feeling Like an Individual

Acting like an individual versus feeling like an individual

One of the things that struck Alexis de Tocqueville most forcefully about nineteenth century America was how readily its citizens banded together to form groups. “Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive” (de Tocqueville, 1840/1994, p. 106). Americans formed groups for any and all purposes – political, social, recreational, commercial, intellectual, and moral. “As soon as several of the inhabitants of the United States have taken up an opinion or a feeling which ...

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