Can an episodic approach to social identification account for identification as interaction between individual and collective identity work in an increasingly flexible and transient identity formation context?

Frances Boag-Munroe, Ann Davis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


A review of available literature suggests that social identification exists at the interface between individual and collective identity work. This poster proposes that it is the interaction between these two processes that leads a person to define themselves in terms of their membership of a particular social group. The poster suggests that identity work undertaken by the group (or ‘the creation of identities as widely understood signs with a set of rules and conventions for their use’, Schwalbe & Mason-Schrock, 1996, p.115), can be used by a person to inform their own individual identity work and, from this, the extent of alignment between their identity and the perceived identity of the group. In stable or internally-structured groups collective identity work may simply take the form of communication and preservation of dominant collective identities. However, in unstable, new or transitional groups, interaction between individual and collective identity work may be more dynamic, as both collective and individual identities are simultaneously codified, enacted and refined. To develop an understanding of social identification that is applicable in both stable and transitional social groups, it is useful to consider recent proposals that identification may occur cyclically as a series of discrete episodes (Ashforth, Harrison & Corley, 2008). This poster draws on the literature to present these suggestions in greater detail, outlining propositions for social identification that are relevant to transient as well as stable identity formation, supported by suggestion of how episodes of social identification may lead to a person identifying with a group.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011
EventBritish Psychological Society Social Section Conference - Cambridge, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Sep 20118 Sep 2011


ConferenceBritish Psychological Society Social Section Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom


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