Contributions - Reducing Prejudice

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  • Reducing Prejudice
    • Social Identity Theory
      • Suggests that prejudice is formed because people identify with members of their in-group and denigrate members of the out-group.
      • This explanation of prejudice would suggest that in-groups and out-groups need to merge in order to reduce prejudice.
    • Social Conflict Theory
      • Sherif's (e.g. 1954) social conflict theory says that not only are 2 groups likely to be prejudiced against one another but that prejudice also arises because 2 groups are in conflict over resources.
      • In order to reduce prejudice the 2 groups need to work together to solve a common problem - called a superordinate goal.
    • Strengths
      • Sherif found that 2 groups he had instilled prejudice in worked together to solve common problems & claimed more friends in the opposing group than they had before.
        • Evidence that working towards superordinate goals reduces prejudice.
      • Studies use either lab (Tajfel) or field (Sherif) expts where there are clear controls and measurable variables, so can draw reliable cause and effect conclusions.
      • Both theories suggest that it is the formation of groups that leads to prejudice and the removal of group delineation that reduces it, so they support on another.
    • Weaknesses
      • It is not easy to remove in-group/out-group behaviour as it is a feature of society that people have different affiliations.
        • Even if some groups merge, they are likely then to be hostile to another group.
      • It is likely that many different circumstances have to come together to reduce prejudice, as well as merging groups and having common goals.


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