The Quest for Identity: From Minority Groups to Generation Xers

The Quest for Identity: From Minority Groups to Generation Xers

The Quest for Identity: From Minority Groups to Generation Xers

The Quest for Identity: From Minority Groups to Generation Xers

Synopsis

There are groups in society that experience profound social problems. Others show signs of a growing social malaise. From his research experiences in the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Indonesia, Taylor examines the reasons for such social problems and offers possible solutions.

Excerpt

I am a privileged, White, male, academic, experimental social psychologist but the focus of this book is society’s most disadvantaged. That is but one of the many contradictions that need to be acknowledged in order to understand the unique form this book has taken.

To begin with, despite the enviable quality of life enjoyed by many in society, and while recognizing many of the egalitarian advances that society has made in the last decades, I firmly believe that the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged is growing. Specifically, I believe we have carefully shielded ourselves from the desperate plight of our Aboriginal people, the majority of those in the African American community and the growing number of homeless youth. This book is about disadvantage in the context of plenty.

I have always preached to my undergraduate and graduate students that addressing social problems requires both head and heart. It is not enough to want to address a social issue with empathy and sympathy. Equally, you need to approach a social issue with a tough intellect. In this book I occasionally wear my heart on my sleeve, but you will also find I have presented a formal theory of disadvantage.

Experimental social psychologists conduct research in the laboratory and publish their results in journals that set the highest standards for objectivity. I am committed to this process and have always respected those norms in my writing. But I do research in disadvantaged communities,

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