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The social context of stereotyping and differentiation

Spears, Russell and Manstead, Antony Stephen Reid 1989. The social context of stereotyping and differentiation. European Journal of Social Psychology 19 (2) , pp. 101-121. 10.1002/ejsp.2420190203

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Two related field studies investigated social stereotyping and differentiation between student groups in higher education. In the first, subjects from Exeter and Manchester Universities rated students at both institutions on a number of evaluatively positive attributes. They also judged the degree status and prospective employment opportunities of the groups, in a context which rendered these important. Although subjects displayed strategies of positive differentiation, this was restricted to certain ‘consensual’ dimensions, reflecting perceived stereotypic differences between the groups. Discrepancies in the pattern of differentiation between the groups, and with finding of comparable studies, are discussed. This paradigm was then extended to the case where Manchester University subjects rated three groups, including the ingroup (Oxford or Exeter University vs. Manchester University vs. Manchester Polytechnic students). From social identity theory it was predicted that comparisons with a higher status outgroup which also excelled on contextually important dimensions (Oxford/Exeter), would increase positive differentiation of the ingroup from a second, lower status outgroup (Manchester Polytechnic students). This was confirmed, although there was weaker evidence for devaluation of the second outgroup in absolute terms. In both studies the relation of group status and dimensional importance of the material factor of career prospects helped to explain the strategies of differentiation adopted.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0046-2772
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:47

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