Book Reviews -- European Review of Social Psychology (Vol. 4) Edited by Wolfgang Stroebe and Miles Hewstone

Article excerpt

WOLFGANG STROEBE AND MILES HEWSTONE, EDS.: European Review of Social Psychology, vol. 4. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1993, 262 pp., $100.00.

This book will be of more interest to students of social psychology than to psychotherapists. However, those lovers of social research who can overlook the redundancy, inevitable with so many different authors, will discover a veritable cornucopia of riches. Each of the book's eight chapters has an abstract with a succinct summary of the multifactorial issues presented.

Chapter 1 presents findings from laboratory and field studies that show that intergroup bias can be reduced when perceptions of group boundaries from "us" and "them" are transformed to a more inclusive "we." Additional supportive data are provided from earlier work relating to contact hypotheses and aversive racism. Chapter 2 focuses on the aspect of the social identity theory that deals with people's wish to climb the social ladder. Studies are designed to investigate conditions under which group members would act individually or collectively to seek status improvement or status protection. Chapter 3 reports on the work examining one of the fundamental tenets of the social identity theory, i.e., the positive relationship between levels of intergroup identification and intergroup differentiation, with the impact of group identification on intergroup perceptions and on individual willingness to take collective action. Chapter 4 provides a critical review of the concept of group cohesiveness. It concludes that group cohesiveness is a reductionist concept and follows by proposing a nonreductionist perception, that of social identity and self-categorization. …