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.
Chapter 7: “I Did it My Way”: Collective Expressions of Individualism
“I Did it My Way”: Collective Expressions of Individualism
En leur reigle n'estoit que ceste clause: Fay ce que vouldras (In their rules there was only one clause: Do what you will). (François Rabelais, 1553, p. 57)
Group life has traditionally been associated with pressure for uniformity and intragroup homogeneity in beliefs, attitudes and behaviour (e.g., Cartwright & Zander, 1953). For instance, Asch (1951) describes how group formation inevitably leads to a shared understanding among group members, which enhances cohesion and reduces differentiation between individual group members. He notes:
The individual comes to experience a world that he shares with others. He perceives that the surroundings include him, as well as the others, and that he is ...