Essay on Theories of Stereotyping

Essay on Theories of Stereotyping

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When Gordon Allport published The Nature of Prejudice in 1954, he provided the basis for further empirical studies on the nature of human interrelationships of in-group and intergroup nature. To understand stereotypes in relation to in/intergroup, we first need to provide a general background of the terms. According to Allport (1979), what usually defines an in-group is that all of its members "use the term we with the same essential significance." (p. 31) For example, members can be brought together by affiliations in relation to profession, education (i.e. particular schools, colleges), church, etc. The attachment in such cases is variable and flexible, meaning one can change profession or school and thus become member of a different in-group. By in-groups, we therefore understand a particular affiliation to smaller groups or groups which belong to certain constructions. Ethnic groups and race groups are also considered part of the category; however, these are understood as much larger assemblies. Secondly, "intergroup" refers to the relations occurring between two or more social groups.
Stereotyping occurs both in-group and intergroup. This assumes that, within an in-group, although individuals share similar visions in relation to the nature of the group, stereotyping may still occur. Because any group is of social nature, different organizational structures and ranks will exist. As such, within an in-group, higher-status and dominant units exert influence upon most of the in-group. When high – ranked groups criticize those under their subordination, the latter may come to assimilate those negative perceptions, the discriminatory behavior leading thus to feelings of low self-esteem or dissociation. This can r...

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...h Psychology, 41, 365 – 385. Retrieved from
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Gordon, Allport. (1979). The Nature of Prejudice. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.
Sherif, M. (1966). Group conflict and cooperation: Their social psychology. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Tajfel, H. (Ed.). (1978). Differentiation between social groups. London: Academic Press.
Tajfel, H. (1981). Human groups and social categories. Cambridge: Cambridge University 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 (pp. 33-47). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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