Group identity as a phenomenon in the relationship between adolescents. How to mediate through the metaphor of “The Wave”

The group identity It is configured as a process that is linked to personal identity, something that we begin to feel is fundamental from adolescence onwards. It is evident that this phenomenon is not going to occur in the same way in each group or in each adolescent minor, since it depends both on the reference family, as a filter of it, and on the culture of which we are part (the group of torque in that period and the Mass media also generate a great influence on its configuration).

In 2008 the movie “The Wave”. It involves us in this process in a dynamic and analytical way, since it tells us the story of a group of adolescents who have to represent, during a week of projects, a situation of autocracy, with the clear objective of studying said sociopolitical system. . From there, a series of events are triggered that are totally linked to the group identification process that we have been talking about. This is a filmographic tool that gives us an opportunity, as mediators, to analyze, together with the minors with whom we intervene, the cognitive, emotional and attitudinal factors that they present in their daily lives.  

Culture and identity

The shared beliefs and behaviors by those who belong to the same culture they fulfill a function of enabling logic and cohesion in order to configure a value in itself that gives meaning to a certain group. In such a way that the individual is provided with a certain security.

It is clear that we need a identification with the reference group to which we belong, but it is also necessary a differentiation from them, which will help us build our own thinking regarding the world in which we operate and will enable us to make decisions about who we are and who we want to become. In this way we can infer that “identification guarantees us the security of knowing who we are and differentiation prevents us from confusing ourselves with others” (Iñigue, 2001, p. 209). It is in the stage of adolescence where we have to define our personality with respect to others and ourselves.

We can infer, based on what has been mentioned, that any person must define their personal identity in accordance with certain cultural codes that become evident through a broader process of socialization, at which we cannot deny ourselves or live outside of it. , since we would lose our identity reference and this would lead to innumerable problems on a psychological and emotional level. To put it another way, we cannot turn our backs on those around us because without them we would not be able to fully develop in a healthy way.

This social identity is a fundamental part of the self-concept (the other is personal identity) that derives from belonging to a group. Is associated with group and intergroup behaviors which include aspects such as (Fernández Ríos, 2010):

1. Ethnocentrism

2. Favoritism towards one's own group

3. Intergroup differentiation

4. Compliance with the norms of one's own group

5. Solidarity and cohesion within the group

6. Perception of self, group peers, and people outside the group according to relevant group stereotypes

Beautiful Shot Of The Breaking Waves Of The Sea With The Trees

The metaphor of “the wave” and the mediating process

Professor Rainer Wenger tries to enlighten his students in a practical way about the autocracy during the project week that is proposed annually at the Secondary School where the context of the plot is framed. Gradually, the teacher introduces them to an experiential experiment to demonstrate how easy it is to manipulate the masses, remembering the identity codes of the Third Reich, and although the students are reluctant to participate at first, they increasingly identify with the project and One with another. checking that their ideas are modified by a unitary idea that leaves out other groups and identifies them as a movement.

particular with a very defined and exclusive identity idiosyncrasy.

Through this film we can analyze several aspects worth highlighting:

  • The identification as a group does not attend to purely random patterns, nor totally controllable or programmable, but rather it is about the convergence of a series of people with something in common at a certain historical moment that they can develop and redefine as a group. Although the actions carried out through this identification are often negative for the common people of society. Something about which we have to reflect from our mediation practice.
  • A leader who has a set of very well-established and convincing ideas can decisively influence the thoughts and actions of those who follow him, this will enable a strengthening at a personal level and a greater self-concept. It is evident in the film with the attitudes that Marco and especially Tim present.
  • Those minors who They present more independent and less “restricted” thinking, in the film this role is played by Mona and Karo, they will represent a constant focus of criticism from the identity group formed. In many cases the group will try, through different strategies, to “abduct” them to become a pineapple”, where no one can or should question its intrinsic values. A clear example of this, we can see it day by day in the behavior of groups on social networks and in the viralization of “fake” news.
  • The “wave” generated in individuals at a particular and group level a feeling of equality and belonging.

The minors with whom we work in mediation show their preferences for joining a peer group or another depending on multiple factors: emotional moment, affinity, common concerns, friendship since childhood, etc., but each of them can change groups at different times of this evolutionary period depending on other factors such as having problems at the family level and that this triggers an emotional state that enables them feel more “at ease” with “deviant peers” than with those others who lead a “normalized” life. This would be the so-called “mirror effect”. Everything analyzed can be extremely interesting to us in our daily work as mediators and conceive said process as a set of systemic interactions that explain the attitudes of these minors in the different areas where they operate.

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