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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael S. Goldsby, PhD, CCRP (Family Psychiatry of The Woodlands)
Description: This book takes a contemporary look at the ways prejudice against certain groups of people and the discrimination that often shapes public policy decisions play roles that negatively impact social interaction among diverse groups. It describes the current understanding of the social psychology theory of prejudice in terms of research findings and professional literature review.
Purpose: The author's purpose is to provide an overall picture of the field of social psychology through a broad lens that captures the social context in which prejudice exists.
Audience: It is written for an academic audience, such as graduate students in the study of social psychology and sociology, as well as anyone who is interested in the history, research, and current theories of prejudice.
Features: The book examines the psychology of prejudice throughout history, introduces contemporary research findings, and highlights thought leaders in the field who have made important theoretical contributions to the field which help to enhance our understanding of prejudice and inequality between groups. The author credits her university students for inspiring her to write this book, which she hopes will satisfy their desire to learn more about the cultural variables that shape attitudes that contribute to social injustice. The author discusses ideology and prejudice; development of prejudice in children; prejudice and the natural world - environmental inequality; and reducing prejudice and promoting social change. There are also discussions on how to affect changes in attitude and prejudice through collective action, prejudice reduction initiatives, and social policy.
Assessment: The author has clearly provided the field of social psychology with a book that definitively states the current understanding of prejudice and its impact on society. Written in a scholarly fashion that is also accessible to the layperson, this book is destined to be the premier go-to resource for educators, public policymakers, and students who wish to better understand the pervasive nature of prejudice in our everyday lives. I highly recommend it as required reading for graduate students in social psychology as well as for researchers in social science who wish to have a comprehensive, state-of-the-art book that exemplifies the current understanding of prejudice, and depicts the challenges that lay ahead for better understanding the psychology of prejudice.