INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY
Chapter 11: RACE AND ETHNICITY
Chapter # Chapter Title
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Twin Brothers. Are they different races?
The groups (e.g. social class, family, football team etc.) which people belong to are an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity: a sense of belonging to the social world.
In order to increase our self-image we enhance the status of the group to which we belong. For example, England is the best country in the world! We can also increase our self-image by discriminating and holding prejudice views against the out group (the group we don’t belong to). For example, the Americans, French etc. are a bunch of losers!
Therefore, we divided the world into “them” and “us” based through a process of social categorization (i.e. we put people into social groups). This is known as in-group (us) and out-group (them).
Social identity theory states that the in-group will discriminate against the out-group to enhance their self-image.
The central hypothesis of social identity theory is that group members of an in-group will seek to find negative aspects of an out-group, thus enhancing their self-image.
Prejudiced views between cultures may result in racism; in its extreme forms, racism may result in genocide, such as occurred in Germany with the Jews, in Rwanda between the Hutus and Tutsis and, more recently, in the former Yugoslavia between the Bosnians and Serbs.
Henri Tajfel proposed that stereotyping (i.e. putting people into groups and categories) is based on a normal cognitive process: the tendency to group things together. In doing so we tend to exaggerate:
1. the differences between groups
2. the similarities of things in the same group.
We categorize people in the same way. We see the group to which we belong (the in-group) as being different from the others (the out-group), and members of the same group as being more similar than they are. Social categorization is one explanation for prejudice attitudes (i.e. “them” and “us” mentality) which leads to in-groups and out-groups.
Examples of In-groups – Out-groups
o Northern Ireland: Catholics – Protestants
o Rwanda: Hutus and Tutsis
o Yugoslavia: the Bosnians and Serbs
o Germany: Jews and the Nazis
o Politics: Labor and the Conservatives
o Football: Liverpool and Man Utd
o Gender: Males and Females
o Social Class: Middle and Working Classes
Social Identity Theory Outline
Tajfel and Turner (1979) proposed that there are three mental processes involved in evaluating others as “us” or “them” (i.e. “in-group” and “out-group”. These take place in a particular order. The first is categorization. We categorize objects in order to understand them and identify them. In a very similar way we categorize people (including ourselves) in order to understand the social environment. We use social categories like black, white, Australian, Christian, Muslim, student, and b
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