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Henri Tajfel

Henri Tajfel
Henri Tajfel
Born (1919-06-22)22 June 1919
Włocławek, Poland
Died

3 May 1982(1982-05-03) (aged 62#REDIRECT

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Residence Bristol
Nationality British
Fields Prejudice, social identity

Henri Tajfel (formerly Hersz Mordche) (22 June 1919 Włocławek, Poland – 3 May 1982 in Oxford, United Kingdom) was a British social psychologist, best known for his pioneering work on the cognitive aspects of prejudice and social identity theory, as well as being one of the founders of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology.[1]

Contents

  • Biography 1
    • Early life in Poland 1.1
    • Move to Britain 1.2
  • Work in social psychology 2
    • Early research 2.1
    • Intergroup relations 2.2
      • Social identity theory 2.2.1
    • Tajfel's influence 2.3
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6

Biography

Early life in Poland

Tajfel [2] grew up in Poland. Because of Polish numerus clausus restrictions on Jews in university education, he left Poland to study chemistry at the Sorbonne in France. At the outbreak of the World War II, he volunteered to serve in the French army. A year later, he was taken prisoner-of-war by the Germans. He faced a dilemma—whether or not to admit to the Germans that he was a Polish Jew. He claimed to be a French citizen but did not deny his Jewish identity. He reasoned that if he denied being Jewish and if the Germans found out later that he was Jewish, he would certainly have been killed. In the event, Tajfel survived the war in a series of prisoner-of-war camps.

On his return home he discovered that none of his immediate family, and few of his friends, had survived the Nazi Holocaust. He was to write later about the profound effect that this had on him and how it led to his later work on the psychology of prejudice and intergroup relations.

After the war Tajfel worked for a series of relief organisations including the

  • Biography from the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology

External links

  • Tajfel, H. (1959). Quantitative judgment in social perception. British Journal of Psychology, 50, 16-29.
  • Tajfel, H. (1969). Cognitive aspects of prejudice. Journal of Social Issues, 25, 79-97.
  • , 96-102Scientific American, 223Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in intergroup discrimination. (abstract).
  • , Vol. 1, Issue 2, 149-178European Journal of Social PsychologyTajfel, H., Billig, M., Bundy, R. P. & Flament, C. (1971). Social categorization and intergroup behaviour. (abstract).
  • Tajfel, H. (1972). La catégorisation sociale. In S. Moscovici (Ed.), Introduction à la psychologie sociale (Vol. 1). Paris: Larousse.
  • Tajfel, H. (1974). Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Social Science Information, 13, 65-93.
  • Tajfel, H. (Ed.). (1978). Differentiation between social groups: Studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations. London: Academic Press.
  • Tajfel, H. & Turner, J. C. (1979). An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks-Cole .
  • Tajfel, H. (1981). Human Groups and Social Categories. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33, 1-39.
  • Tajfel, H. & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of inter-group behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Chicago: Nelson-Hall

Bibliography

  1. ^ ISBN 0-745-62966-0; ISBN 978-0-745-62966-7.
  2. ^ This name is the Yiddish form of the German word "Teufel", which means "devil". Yidush was then the dominant language in/of the Jewish community in Poland. The reason why Henri Tajfel's family adopted this name is unknown.
  3. ^ ISBN 0-521-22839-5; ISBN 978-0-521-22839-8.
  4. ^ Jahoda, G. (2004). 'Henri Tajfel', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press.
  5. ^
  6. ^ See chapter four ("The importance of exaggerating") and five ("Differences and similarities: some contexts of judgements"), Tajfel, H. (1981). Op. cit.
  7. ^ For example:
  8. ^ See chapter six ("Cognitive Aspects of Prejudice"), Tajfel, H. (1981). Op. cit.
  9. ^ Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination.
  10. ^ Tajfel, H. (1970). Experiments in Intergroup Discrimination.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Tajfel, H. (1974). Social Identity and Intergroup Behavior.
  13. ^ See p. 204. ISBN 1-841-69408-8; ISBN 978-1-841-69408-5.
  14. ^ Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), Psychology of Intergroup Relations (pp. 7–24). Chicago, IL: Nelson-Hall.
  15. ^ For details of Tajfel's influence, see: Dumont, K. and Louw, J. (2009). "A citation analysis of Henri Tajfel's work on intergroup relations", International Journal of Psychology, 44, 46-59.
  16. ^ See chapter two ("Experiments in a vacuum"), Tajfel, H. (1981). Human Groups and Social Categories.
  17. ^ ISBN 0-750-63083-3; ISBN 978-0-750-63083-2.
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end

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function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '

function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end

function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end


-- Helper functions


local p = {}

local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno


return p-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --

end

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function p._hatnote(s, options) checkType('_hatnote', 1, s, 'string') checkType('_hatnote', 2, options, 'table', true) local classes = {'hatnote'} local extraclasses = options.extraclasses local selfref = options.selfref if type(extraclasses) == 'string' then classes[#classes + 1] = extraclasses end if selfref then classes[#classes + 1] = 'selfref' end return string.format( '

function p.hatnote(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local s = args[1] local options = {} if not s then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no text specified', 'Template:Hatnote#Errors', args.category ) end options.extraclasses = args.extraclasses options.selfref = args.selfref return p._hatnote(s, options) end


-- Hatnote -- -- Produces standard hatnote text. Implements the template.


function p._formatLink(link, display) -- Find whether we need to use the colon trick or not. We need to use the -- colon trick for categories and files, as otherwise category links -- categorise the page and file links display the file. checkType('_formatLink', 1, link, 'string') checkType('_formatLink', 2, display, 'string', true) link = removeInitialColon(link) local namespace = p.findNamespaceId(link, false) local colon if namespace == 6 or namespace == 14 then colon = ':' else colon = end -- Find whether a faux display value has been added with the | magic -- word. if not display then local prePipe, postPipe = link:match('^(.-)|(.*)$') link = prePipe or link display = postPipe end -- Find the display value. if not display then local page, section = link:match('^(.-)#(.*)$') if page then display = page .. ' § ' .. section end end -- Assemble the link. if display then return string.format('%s', colon, link, display) else return string.format('%s%s', colon, link) end end

function p.formatLink(frame) local args = getArgs(frame) local link = args[1] local display = args[2] if not link then return p.makeWikitextError( 'no link specified', 'Template:Format hatnote link#Errors', args.category ) end return p._formatLink(link, display) end


-- Format link -- -- Makes a wikilink from the given link and display values. Links are escaped -- with colons if necessary, and links to sections are detected and displayed -- with " § " as a separator rather than the standard MediaWiki "#". Used in -- the template.


function p.makeWikitextError(msg, helpLink, addTrackingCategory) -- Formats an error message to be returned to wikitext. If -- addTrackingCategory is not false after being returned from -- Module:Yesno, and if we are not on a talk page, a tracking category -- is added. checkType('makeWikitextError', 1, msg, 'string') checkType('makeWikitextError', 2, helpLink, 'string', true) yesno = require('Module:Yesno') local title = mw.title.getCurrentTitle() -- Make the help link text. local helpText if helpLink then helpText = ' (help)' else helpText = end -- Make the category text. local category if not title.isTalkPage and yesno(addTrackingCategory) ~= false then category = 'Hatnote templates with errors' category = string.format( '%s:%s', mw.site.namespaces[14].name, category ) else category = end return string.format( '%s', msg, helpText, category ) end

function p.formatPageTables(...) -- Takes a list of page/display tables and returns it as a list of -- formatted links. Nil values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local links = {} for i, t in ipairs(pages) do checkType('formatPageTables', i, t, 'table') local link = t[1] local display = t[2] links[i] = p._formatLink(link, display) end return links end

function p.formatPages(...) -- Formats a list of pages using formatLink and returns it as an array. Nil -- values are not allowed. local pages = {...} local ret = {} for i, page in ipairs(pages) do ret[i] = p._formatLink(page) end return ret end

function p.findNamespaceId(link, removeColon) -- Finds the namespace id (namespace number) of a link or a pagename. This -- function will not work if the link is enclosed in double brackets. Colons -- are trimmed from the start of the link by default. To skip colon -- trimming, set the removeColon parameter to true. checkType('findNamespaceId', 1, link, 'string') checkType('findNamespaceId', 2, removeColon, 'boolean', true) if removeColon ~= false then link = removeInitialColon(link) end local namespace = link:match('^(.-):') if namespace then local nsTable = mw.site.namespaces[namespace] if nsTable then return nsTable.id end end return 0 end

local function removeInitialColon(s) -- Removes the initial colon from a string, if present. return s:match('^:?(.*)') end

local function getArgs(frame) -- Fetches the arguments from the parent frame. Whitespace is trimmed and -- blanks are removed. mArguments = require('Module:Arguments') return mArguments.getArgs(frame, {parentOnly = true}) end


-- Helper functions


local p = {}

local libraryUtil = require('libraryUtil') local checkType = libraryUtil.checkType local mArguments -- lazily initialise Module:Arguments local yesno -- lazily initialise Module:Yesno


-- Module:Hatnote -- -- -- -- This module produces hatnote links and links to related articles. It -- -- implements the and meta-templates and includes -- -- helper functions for other Lua hatnote modules. --


References

See also

The influence of his general vision can be seen in the book Social Groups and Identities.[17] This book was a posthumous tribute to Tajfel, containing chapters written by many of his former students. Some of his students went on to develop his theories of social identity and some continued his early work on social judgement. There were also chapters from former students who developed very different sorts of social psychology. However, both those who continued Tajfel's work directly and those who moved in other directions were united in paying tribute to the force of Tajfel's vision for a broad-based, politically important social psychology.

Henri Tajfel’s influence on social psychology, especially in Britain and Europe, continues to be significant.[15] His influence has reached beyond his particular views on social identity and social judgement, as he had a wide vision of creating a social psychology that was genuinely social and was engaged with broader issues. Too much social psychology was, in his view, trivial and based on what he called "experiments in a vacuum".[16] Tajfel thought that social psychologists should seek to address serious social problems by examining how psychological dimensions interact with historical, ideological, and cultural factors.

Tajfel's influence

Social identity theory suggests that people identify with groups in such a way as to maximize positive distinctiveness. Groups offer both organizational psychology.

Subsequently, Tajfel and his student John Turner developed the theory of social identity.[14] They proposed that people have an inbuilt tendency to categorize themselves into one or more "ingroups", building a part of their identity on the basis of membership of that group and enforcing boundaries with other groups.

Social identity theory

Having moved to Bristol University, Tajfel began his work on intergroup relations and conducted the renowned minimal groups experiments. In these studies,[9][10] test subjects were divided arbitrarily into two groups, based on a trivial and almost completely irrelevant basis. Participants did not know other members of the group, did not even know who they were, and had no reason to expect that they would interact with them in the future. Still, members of both groups allocated resources in such a way that showed favouritism for members of their own group in a way that maximized their own group's outcomes in comparison to the alternate group, even at the expense of maximum gains for their own group.[11] Even "on the basis of a coin toss...simple categorization into groups seems to be sufficient reason for people to dispense valued rewards in ways that favor in-group members over those who are 'different'".[12][13]

Intergroup relations

The implications of this position were profound. It meant that some of the basic psychological roots of prejudice lay not in particular personality types, but in general, "ordinary" processes of thinking, especially processes of categorising. Tajfel outlined these ideas in his article, "Cognitive Aspects of Prejudice", which was first published in 1969 and has been republished subsequently. For this article, Tajfel was awarded the first annual Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations Prize by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.[8]

Tajfel viewed these investigations into social judgement as being directly related to the issue of prejudice. Imposing category distinctions on lines (A and B) was like dividing the social world into different groups of people (e.g., French, Germans, British). The results of his experiments showed how cognitively deep-seated it was for perceivers to assume that all members of a certain nationality-based category (for instance, all the French or all the British) were more similar to each other than they actually were, and to assume that the members of different categories differed more than they did (for instance, to exaggerate the differences between the French and the British). In this respect, the judging of lines was similar to making stereotyped judgements about social groups. Tajfel also argued that if the categories were of value to the perceiver, then these processes of exaggeration were likely to be enhanced.

He conducted a series of experiments, investigating the role of categorization. One of his most notable experiments looked at the way that people judged the length of lines. He found that the imposition of a category directly affected judgements. If the lines, which were presented individually, were shown without any category label, then errors of judgement tended to be random. If the longest lines were each labelled A, and the shortest were labelled B, then the errors followed a pattern. Perceivers would tend to judge the lines of each category (whether A or B) as being more similar to each other than they were; and perceivers would judge the differences between categories as greater than they were (i.e., the differences between the longest B line and the shortest 'A' line).[6] These findings have continued to influence subsequent work on categorization and have been replicated subsequently.[7]

Tajfel's early research at University of Durham and University of Oxford involved examining the processes of social judgement. He believed that the cognitive processes of categorization contributed strongly to the psychological dimensions of prejudice, which went against the prevailing views of the time. Many psychologists assumed that extreme prejudice was the result of personality factors, such as authoritarianism. According to this perspective, only those with personalities that predisposed them to prejudice were likely to become bigots.[5] Tajfel believed this was mistaken. He had seen how large numbers of Germans—not just those with particular personalities—had given their support to Nazism and had held extreme views about Jews. Nazism would not have been successful without the support of "ordinary" Germans. Tajfel sought to discover whether the roots of prejudice might be found in "ordinary" processes of thinking, rather than in "extraordinary" personality types.

Early research

Work in social psychology

In 1967 he was made Chair of Social Psychology at the University of Bristol. At Bristol he conducted research into intergroup relations and was active in making Bristol University a European centre for social psychology. He retired from Bristol and moved back to Oxford shortly before his death from cancer in 1982.

In 1951 Tajfel began studying psychology at Birkbeck College, University of London. He won a competitive scholarship for mature students with an essay on the subject of prejudice. In 1954 he graduated and worked as a lecturer, first at the University of Durham and then at Oxford. In his research work at the University of Oxford, Tajfel examined several different areas of social psychology, including social judgement, nationalism, and, most importantly, the cognitive aspects of prejudice.

He was granted French citizenship in 1946. However, he was soon to meet his future wife Anna-Sophie Eber (Ann), who had been born in Germany but had moved to Britain before the Second World War. Henri and Ann set up home in Britain where their two sons, Michael and Paul, were born. Henri took on British citizenship (for details, see the biography in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).[4]

Move to Britain

[3]

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