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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Collapsing self/other positions: identification through differentiation
Author(s): Gillespie, Alex
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Keywords: Self
Issue Date: Sep-2007
Citation: Gillespie A (2007) Collapsing self/other positions: identification through differentiation, British Journal of Social Psychology, 46 (3), pp. 579-595.
Abstract: There is a widely recognised tendency for people to positively differentiate Self from Other. The present paper asks: What counter dynamic constrains this othering tendency? A phenomenon, termed identification through differentiation is presented in which the positive differentiation of Self from Other collapses in a moment of identification. This phenomenon is demonstrated and explored using quasi-naturalistic group discussions with tourists in India. Three excerpts are analysed. The first demonstrates a tourist’s attempt to positively differentiate himself from other tourists. The second demonstrates how such an effort can collapse in a moment of identification with the previously derogated ‘other’ tourists. The third is used to explore how identification through differentiation is complicated by issues of self-presentation. The discussion uses concepts from Mead (1934) and Ichheiser (1949) in order to theorise about the preconditions, interactional mechanisms and wider applicability of the phenomenon.
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Rights: Published in British Journal of Social Psychology by British Pyschological Society.

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