Univerzitet u Novom Sadu
Filozofski fakultet
Odsek za psihologiju

Pretraživanje repozitorijuma
Objavljeno u: Psihologija i društvo, 2009, str. 5-5, Novi Sad: Filozofski fakultet

Tip publikacije: plenarno predavanje

Stephen D. Reicher
School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, Velika Britanija

Strast i bes: Osvrt na osnovne principe psihologije grupe

The passion and the fury: Revisiting the fundamentals of group psychology

In this talk I shall argue that contemporary social psychology has done much to elucidate the dynamics of group process, but has failed to explain why people invest so strongly in their group memberships, why they feel so passionately about the fate of the group, and hence why they are prepared to go to such extremes - both positive and negative - in the name of the group. By contrast, traditional models of the group do address issues of passion and investment, but they tend to counterpose passion to reason, thus pathologising groups as regressive entities. For them, passion comes at the expense of identity and agency. I shall argue, by contrast, that people are passionate about groups because groups constitute individuals as social subjects with the collective agency to shape their world and I shall explicate the processes through which this is brought about. First, as self-categorisation theorists have argued, group behaviour is premised upon a shift from personal to social identification. Second, social identities provide a representational framework for understanding, interpreting and evaluating events in the social world. Third, a sense of shared social identity transforms relations between individuals such that they tend to agree with each other, trust and respect each other, support and help each other and accept common leadership. Fourth, these transformations allow people to align and coordinate their actions in such a way as to constitute a cohesive social force with enhanced social power. Fifth, this social power enables people to transform their shared values, norms and beliefs about the world into social realities. It renders them capable of collective self-realisation. In sum, group membership gives people both a vision of how the world should be and the means to bring that vision to fruition. It allows people to participate in making a world for themselves rather than adapting to a world made for them. It constitutes people as social agents. To affirm the group is therefore to affirm the social being of its members, to threaten the group is to threaten their very social being. That is why such heroism and such atrocity is possible in the name of the group. To conclude, then, I will examine how hostility, hatred and even annihilation of outgroup members is bound up with constructions of the outgroup as a threat to ingroup self-realisation - in other words that it depends as much upon how we see 'ourselves' as how we see 'them'. This requires a reframing of the way in which we understand outgroup hostility - not only in terms of the underlying processes, but also in recognizing that the focus of analysis must shift from perceptions of the outgroup to representations of the ingroup.