Social Identity: 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social Identity

4th Edition

By Richard Jenkins


264 pages

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Social Identity explains how identification, seen as a social process, works: individually, interactionally and institutionally. Building on the international success of previous editions, this fourth edition offers a concise, comprehensive and readable critical introduction to social science theories of identity for advanced undergraduates and postgraduates. All the chapters have been updated, and extra new material has been added where relevant, integrating the most recent critical publications in the field.

As with the earlier editions, the emphasis is on sociology, anthropology and social psychology; on the interplay between relationships of similarity and difference; on interaction; on the categorisation of others as well as self-identification; and on power, institutions and organisations.

Written in clear, accessible language, and informed by relevant topical examples throughout, this fully updated new edition will be useful for students interested in social identity throughout the social sciences and humanities.


"This is a sophisticated yet accessible introduction to the topic of social identity, in all its richness and complexity. Focusing less on what identity is than on how it works, Jenkins shows how identity emerges from the interplay of self-identification and external categorization in a wide range of settings. His is quite simply the best available treatment of this important yet elusive subject." - Professor Rogers Brubaker, Department of Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

"There is a very good reason why this book has been in print for the past two decades. It is by far the best and most comprehensive critical introduction to identity studies. Jenikins is an astute analyst who is capable of making highly complex social phenomena understandable to the non-expert audience. This is a very well-structured and insightful, yet highly accessible text. I have no doubt that this new updated and revised edition will, yet again, prove to be a major success." - Professor Siniša Maleševic, University College, Dublin

"Jenkins’s book remains the best book there is on the topic of social identity. Over the years I have continued to refer my undergraduate and graduate students to this key work. Unfailingly, they have found it useful and provocative. This book remains as fresh and illuminating as it was when it first came out. A must read." - Michele Lamont, Professor of Sociology and African and African-American Studies, Harvard University

Table of Contents

1. Identity Matters 2. Similarity and Difference 3. A Sign of the Times? 4. Understanding Identification 5. Selfhood and Mind 6. Embodied Selves 7. Entering the Human World 8. Self-Image and Public Image 9. Groups and Categories 10. Beyond Boundaries 11. Symbolising Belonging 12. Uncertainty and Predictability 13. Institutionalising Identification 14. Organising Identification 15. Categorisation and Consequences 16. Identity and Modernity Revisited

About the Author

Richard Jenkins is Professor of Sociology at the University of Sheffield. Trained as a social anthropologist, he has done research in Northern Ireland, England, Wales and Denmark, and written Foundations of Sociology (2002), Pierre Bourdieu (2004), Rethinking Ethnicity (2008) and Being Danish (2012).

About the Series

Key Ideas

This popular series covers the main concepts, issues, debates and controversies in sociology and the social sciences. The books are concise and informative yet lively. Written by leading authorities in the field, they give students access to 'new sociology' in manageable form.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General