The Social Categorization Theory, also known as the Social Identity Theory, was proposed by Henri Tajfel and John Turner. This theory explores how individuals categorize themselves and others into different social groups.

What is Social Categorization Theory?

Social Categorization Theory suggests that individuals tend to categorize themselves and others based on certain characteristics such as age, gender, occupation, race, or even hobbies. These categories help us simplify the complex social world around us and make sense of our interactions with others.

According to Tajfel and Turner, social categorization serves two main purposes:

The Process of Social Categorization

The process of social categorization involves three key stages:

1. Stereotyping:

Stereotyping is the process of assigning certain traits or characteristics to individuals based on their social category. For example, assuming that all engineers are introverted or all artists are creative.

2. Identification:

Identification refers to the act of associating oneself with a particular social group. This identification can be influenced by various factors such as shared values, beliefs, or experiences within that group.

3. Social Comparison:

Social comparison involves evaluating one’s own social group in comparison to other groups. This can lead to feelings of superiority or inferiority, depending on the perceived status of one’s group in relation to others.

Impact of Social Categorization

Social categorization has significant implications for our social interactions and behavior. It can lead to both positive and negative outcomes:


In conclusion, the Social Categorization Theory proposed by Tajfel and Turner highlights how individuals categorize themselves and others into social groups based on shared characteristics. This process of social categorization plays a crucial role in shaping our perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors towards others. By understanding the impact of social categorization, we can strive for a more inclusive society that values diversity and promotes equality.