Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1979, 1986)

You need to be able to describe, apply (explain) and evaluate social identity theory and potentially also compare social identity theory with realistic conflict theory.





If you wish to read the original work by Tajfel and Turner (1979), follow this link:


research-studies-on-sit: In class we will look at these studies and match them with the key SIT processes; you can use them in your writing as illustrative examples and/or evidence to support SIT.

Research Evidence: You must refer to Tajfel et al (1970) in your evaluation; for more information on this study, please follow the link.

starsiraqi-adolescents: An interesting study that you could look at for further reading. A* alert!

evaluate-sit-revision-cloze: This fill in the gaps exercise could be useful for revision.

evaluate-social-identity-theory-8: A model essay to help you out but beware this is still written as a block of AO1 and a block of AO3 and needs reworking to follow the new advice from the AS examiners’ reports.

evaluating-sit-with-vicky-pollard: Why not use this sheet to think about the whole ping-pong, competing arguments game!

evaluating-sit-handout: Useful to help you when it comes to evaluation.

Read up on Wetherall (1982) for yourself from the original chapter.

Read up on applications of SIT to reduce prejudice

Great website for further reading

Original paper for Fein and Spencer (1997)

Assessment Questions:


Answers to conference cliques exercise (password no longer required!)

  1. In many cities across the UK, social media campaigns have brought large groups of people together to show their solidarity with refugees in war-torn countries. People are able to join these groups at the click of a button and become part of a movement of people who share common values. The members of these groups often come together in real life, to donate many tons of aid to be sent overseas. However, group chat-pages, such as “Donate not Hate” are often also littered with negative comments from people who perceive refugees, and their supporters very negatively. The page supporters sometimes retaliate with equally aggressive comments.

a. Use concepts from Tajfel’s Social Identity Theory to explain why tensions arise between groups of people in our communities, in situations such as this (4)

2. Explain one strength of social identity theory with reference to research evidence (2)

3. Evaluate social identity theory with reference to practical applications (8)

4. Compare social identity theory and realistic conflict theory as explanations of prejudice (4)

5. Jas and Kari are ‘fan-girls’ but they both love different bands. They argue a lot about which fan base are more loyal and which band are more talented. Explain how useful social identity theory is for accounting for the girls arguments. (6) (take care this question will be assessed as 2x AO2+ 2x AO3).

Revision Guidance




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