Presentation on theme: "Outgroup Perception & Prejudice Intergroup behaviour – individuals belonging to one group interact (collectively or individually) with another group or."— Presentation transcript:
Outgroup Perception & Prejudice Intergroup behaviour – individuals belonging to one group interact (collectively or individually) with another group or its members in terms of their group identification. Outgroups – large groups OR social categories. Prejudice/discrimination: attitude/behaviour
3. Intergroup perspectives Social Identity perspective: Analysis of prejudice based on social identity theory and self-categorisation theory. Emphasis on: social context within which groups interact; nature of power/status differentials which historically exist between groups. Processes of categorizing and stereotyping are functional not because they simplify & reduce information, but because they enrich and elaborate our perception of the social environment and our place within it. These cognitive processes orient us to the ‘actualities of social life’ and the nature of group relations that exist at any one time.
Discontinuity hypothesis A psychological discontinuity between people acting as individuals and people acting as group members (Asch, 1952; Sherif, 1967; Tajfel & Turner, 1979). Self-categorization can occur: as an individual in contrast to other individuals (personal identity); as a member of a social category in contrast to other categories (social identity).
When social identity salient (i.e., psychologically operative) this is associated with an accentuation of: perceptual similarities within the in-group; accentuation of perceptual differences between groups. also qualitative change in the content of the self — depersonalization — that makes collective behaviour (e.g., prejudice, discrimination, cohesion, co-operation and mutual influence) possible.
Therefore, not possible to extrapolate directly from individual processes to explain prejudice. a psychologically rational and valid product of the perceived social structure of intergroup relations. arising from, and reflecting, the subjectively- apprehended relationships between groups in society. (Asch, 1952; Sherif, 1967; Tajfel, 1969; Tajfel & Turner, 1979).
Reasons for intergroup bias Cognitive: general biases in cognitive processing. Motivational: Social Identity theory Tajfel 1982 social categorization initiates basic motivational processes in individuals that induce intergroup competition. Key assumption: People are motivated to establish and maintain self-esteem. As various group memberships have esteem implications, one should affiliate with attractive groups and view one’s own as positively as possible.
Real groups: Realistic group conflict (Sherif & Sherif) Intergroup boundaries & distinction between ‘us’/‘them’ more salient. Individual usually has knowledge about in/out groups and enduring feelings of identification with in-group. History of highly emotional interactions and in some cases conflict. Real groups have salient cues for social categorization. May be segregated in space, have different cultural norms. Added to learned biases and stereotypes acquired through socialization.
Outgroup homogeneity Outgroup perceived as more homogenous (vs. ingroup variability) Why? Limited contact Memory
Biased explanation for positive and negative behaviours Attributions made for in-group behaviour. Opportunity effect for out-group behaviour. Ultimate attribution error (Pettigrew 1979) for out-group members. Maas et al Linguistic Intergroup Bias Effect
Intergroup rather than interpersonal responding How to change? Discourage use of categories and encourage diversity … which sharpens boundaries … which encourages perception of difference...
Distinct stages of theoretical & empirical development each influenced by the social and political milieu of the time: white superiority and minority backwardness; individual personality structures; unconscious psychological defences; human irrational and faulty cognitive processes; and expressions of group interests and intergroup relations Historical analysis shows not only the role psychology has played in aiding our understanding of prejudice but also how as a discipline, psychology has contributed to and reproduced racist theory and practice.
Changing nature of racism & prejudice Old-fashioned or blatant racism based on notions of racial superiority Symbolic or modern racism based on wider ideological values, e.g., work ethic, individualism, and self-reliance. subtle, covert, contradictory & ambivalent. Variability in expression of racism and prejudice - means insidious and resilient to change - also suggests a dynamic process is in operation.
Denial of Racism willingness to acknowledge widespread prejudice & discrimination towards Travellers in Irish society, yet still strong resistance among the Irish public, to calling the treatment of Travellers racist. The reasons for this denial of racism are complex and varied. e.g., a tendency to see racism only in relation to skin colour. so Travellers cannot experience racism because they are white, are not 'a different race' nor a different nationality. This denial, confusion, as well as a tendency to blame the victim is evident in this excerpt : "Ireland is a racially homogenous country with no ethnic minority groups. As a consequence there are no racial problems of the kind experienced in countries with such groups. Neither is there a large presence of foreigners... the position could alter if the influx became sustained... there is however a minority group of travelling people giving rise to some of the problems associated with racism.“ submission by Irish MEP to the Committee of Inquiry into Racism & Xenophobia 1990
The mistaken tendency to equate 'race' with colour has been refuted by many academics such as Charles Husband, who refers to this quote from Charles Kingsley's correspondence about his visit to Ireland in 1860:... "I am haunted by the human chimpanzees I saw along that hundred miles of horrible country... to see white chimpanzees is dreadful; if they were black, one would not feel it so much, but their skins, except where tanned by exposure, are as white as ours". This quotation reflects the racialisation process whereby members of a group, in this instance the (white) Irish, are identified as belonging to a 'race' category on the basis of fixed characteristics which they are assumed to possess. Central to such race-thinking are notions of superiority and inferiority, and of purity and pollution. Racism is more than a prejudicial attitude: involves a pattern of social relations, structures and an ideological discourse which reflects unequal power between groups.
Role of the media in racialisation process and in reproduction of racism towards Travellers. Newspaper accounts illustrate how the negative portrayal of Irish Travellers contributes to the ideological racist discourse. A headline in crime section: Time To Get Tough On Tinker Terror 'Culture'. According to the article by, Gardai believe that Travellers are responsible for over 90% of attacks on the rural elderly. The writer states that Traveller culture... "is a life of appetite ungoverned by intellect..... It is a life worse than the life of beasts, for beasts at least are guided by wholesome instinct. Traveller life is without the ennobling intellect of man or the steadying instinct of animals. This tinker "culture" is without achievement, discipline, reason or intellectual ambition. It is a morass. And one of the surprising things about it is that not every individual bred in this swamp turns out bad. Some individuals among the tinkers find the will not to become evil". (Sunday Independent 28/1/1996 Mary Ellen Synon) Another sensational headline: Patience Runs Thin When Uncivilised Travellers Spill Blood”. The writer gave a detailed account of the feud in a cemetery and concluded that "It just doesn't happen in a civilised society". He then went on to justify his use of the term "knacker": "Where I come from the word "knacker" doesn't mean someone of any specific socio-economic or ethnic background. It means someone who behaves in a way that society abhors. And that's what the people who desecrated a Tuam graveyard last June were, knackers and scumbags". The same journalist insists on using similar language in other reports, and the sub-editor used the offensive term in the headline. "Good relations knackered“ (Sunday Independent 25/5/1997, Brendan O'Connor ) The conflict is not between settled and Traveller. It's between decent people and 'knackers'. (Sunday Independent 31 August 1996)
The anti-Traveller discourse features frequently in both national and especially local newspapers and radio. Very often, as in the following, local politicians are being quoted: "They are dirty and unclean. Travelling people have no respect for themselves and their children". (County Councillor quoted in Irish Times, 13th March, 1991) "These people have been a constant headache for towns and cities throughout the country". (County Councillor quoted in Cork Examiner, 13th June, 1990) "Killarney is literally infested by these people". (County Councillor quoted in Cork Examiner, 18th July, 1989) "They are a constant problem, moving from one open area to another and creating problems". (County Councillor quoted in Cork Examiner, 13th June, 1990) "Deasy suggests birth control to limit traveller numbers" (Headline in Irish Times, Friday, June 14, 1996.) In the Dail Report column referring to remarks by Mr. Austin Deasy, T.D. Fine Gael, the deputy is reported as saying that the problem of Travellers would not be solved by providing more halting sites but by ensuring that Travellers' numbers be contained by birth control and assimilation into existing housing estates. "Traveller tradition not a divine right. Brendan O'Connor applauds Councillor Ann Devitt for suggesting that Traveller culture is not sacrosanct, and that the time has come for them to change their way of life. "(Sunday Independent June ) "The sooner the shotguns are at the ready and these travelling people are put out of our county the better. They are not our people, they aren't natives." Remarks of a Fianna Fail Councillor at a Waterford County Council meeting. (Sunday Independent, 14 April 1996)
These samples show how Travellers are perceived & treated in Irish society. Such coverage and the social relations associated with it constitutes a form of racism. "the powerful discourses of the press contribute to the creation of an ideological context which legitimates coercive state policies, everyday discriminatory practices, and ultimately violence against Travellers" (Helleiner, 1994). According to Helleiner: "While press reports of the 1960's and much of the 1970's, were explicit in their portrayal of the Travellers and the travelling way of life as problematic, during the 1980's overtly racist discourses were increasingly replaced by more sophisticated discourses of exclusion."
this claim of a shift from overt to more covert racism was not borne out in the 1990's coverage. "Irish people's prejudice against Travellers is one of caste-like apartheid." (McGrath 1996) Kenny in her investigation into the interaction between Traveller ethnic identity and schooling concludes that "dominant sedentary society and its institutions remain the instigators and maintainers of institutional and interpersonal racism and exclusion, which has pressured Travellers over a long time-span into distorted performances"(Kenny, 1997). Quite clearly, a racialisation process inferring the inferiority of Travellers is the outcome of media and political discourse.
Moral, psychological and cultural approaches tend to depoliticise the issue of racism by focusing almost exclusively on individual attitudes and behaviours dislocated from their social, political, economical, and historical contexts. The psychological approach is a necessary but not sufficient tool for understanding the phenomenon of racism; "Racism, far from being the simple delusion of a bigoted and ignorant minority, is a set of beliefs whose structure arises from the deepest levels of our lives - from the fabric of assumptions we make about the world, ourselves, and others, and from the patterns of our fundamental social activities." "Racist psychology is a prerequisite of racial institutions, and racist institutions engender a racist psychology." (Kovel, 1971) Anti-racism does not mean a denial of differences but does challenge the social meanings and interpretations attributed to them.
4. Institutional levels: What does critical social psychology have to say? Prejudices are acquired and shared within the dominant group through everyday conversation & institutional text and talk: discourse. This discourse serves to express, convey, legitimate or indeed to conceal and deny negative ethnic attitudes. Not a form of individual discourse but social group discourse: Expresses not individual opinion but socially shared representations.
Critical discursive understanding of racism vs. positivist understanding How to understand: stable attitudes amenable to measurement by questionnaire & scales study of discourse/everyday talk to understand the implications of particular ways of talking Location: intrapsychic vs. social; cognitive processes vs. language practices, ideologies, social practices Psychological interior vs. public display
Discourse ‘A group of statements which provide a language for talking about a topic and a way of producing a particular kind of knowledge about a topic. Thus the term refers both to the production of knowledge through language and representation and the way that knowledge is institutionalized, shaping social practices and setting new practices into play’ (du Gay 1996:43).
Discourse analytical approach Reconstructs the social cognitions we hold about other groups, e.g.,: Positive self-presentation and negative other- presentation; Group membership, in-group allegiances; Various conditions for the reproduction of the dominant group and their dominance in virtually all social, political and cultural domains.
Attention to significant structuring effects of language Analyses what people actually say in everyday communication. Highly critical of individualistic and social cognitive accounts of prejudice and racism: ‘By viewing prejudice as the natural and inevitable result of “cognition” (that is perception, thought, group categorization), prejudice itself becomes natural and inevitable’ (Billig 1985). Locates racism within dominant institutional practices and discourses within a society.
Social categorization and stereotyping? Not fixed and preformed cognitive structures located in people's heads, nor internal cognitive processes. Rather discursive practices flexibly articulated within particular social contexts to do certain things, (e.g., to blame, accuse, excuse, persuade, justify). Something we do in talk in order to accomplish social actions. Fine-grained analysis of what is actually said in everyday talk and interaction. The identification of discursive repertoires and resources used in race talk has found that the language of contemporary racism is flexible, ambivalent and contradictory.
Stresses the particulars of particular racisms. (the racism of Thatcher is not the racism of a skinhead stereotype) Stress difference, e.g., between US and Dutch conceptualisations, (e.g., see Essed 1991, Understanding Everyday Racism: An Interdisciplinary Study, London: Sage. Work in less well-researched locations, (e.g., Wetherell & Potter’s (1992) discourse analysis of racism in New Zealand, work in Australia by Augoustinos and LeCouteur 2001) Useful for exposing the passing reasonableness of racist rhetoric, the way it features all the complex, meandering and self- referential qualities of any talk.
Explore discourse in the broadest sense – not just racism the product but also racism the production, i.e., how is it built into education systems, cultural forms (films, novels, television). Tourism is a prime site of racist production, (airport souvenirs).
Reading Required: Hogg & Vaughan Chapters 10 & 11 Tuffin, K. (2005) Understanding Critical Social Psychology. Sage. Chapter 5 on Prejudice. Also Chapter 4 for Discursive work. Pheonix, A. (2007) Chapter 6 Intragroup processes: Social Identity Theory. In D. Langdridge & S. Taylor (Eds.). Critical Readings in Social Psychology. OUP.