The Psychology of Prejudice: From Attitudes to Social Action

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Discussions of prejudice inevitably reveal the ways in which prejudice is linked with competition and social injustice, and the role that religious and political ideologies play in shaping attitudes. This book provides an accessible yet scholarly review of social psychological theory on prejudice with the goal of integrating recent theories about its causes. Several emerging trends and lines of research are highlighted in this book, including:
• Essentialist and social constructivist approaches to understanding differences
• Evolutionary and intergroup explanations of prejudice
• Ideological systems and developmental theories
• Cognitive processes and social neuroscience
• Links among prejudice, environmental issues, and speciesism In addition to its rich theoretical content, the book reviews research on reducing prejudice, with an emphasis on intergroup and institutional strategies. It also discusses collective action to promote social justice and the difficult question of the possible drawbacks of prejudice reduction. With its thoughtfully selected reviews, numerous real-life examples, and novel content, this book will appeal to students and their educators, as well as researchers surveying or investigating the field of prejudice and diversity.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: 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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433809200
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association
  • Publication date: 1/15/2011
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 Defining Prejudice 7

Chapter 2 Defining Differences 29

Chapter 3 Evolutionary and Psychodynamic Approaches to Prejudice 47

Chapter 4 Ideology and Prejudice 65

Chapter 5 Development of Prejudice in Children 81

Chapter 6 Intergroup Relations and Prejudice 103

Chapter 7 Cognitive, Affective, and Interactive Processes of Prejudice 117

Chapter 8 Toward a Wider Lens: Prejudice and the Natural World 137

Chapter 9 Reducing Prejudice and Promoting Social Change 159

References 177

Index 213

About the Author 225

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