The Psychology of Stereotyping

The Psychology of Stereotyping

The Psychology of Stereotyping

The Psychology of Stereotyping

Synopsis

"The first comprehensive treatment of stereotypes and stereotyping, this volume synthesizes a vast body of social and cognitive research that has emerged over the past quarter century. Distinguished researcher David J. Schneider provides an unusually broad analysis of stereotypes as products both of individual cognitive activities and of social and cultural forces. While devoting careful attention to harmful aspects of stereotypes and strategies for countering them, the volume also examines the positive functions of generalizations in helping people navigate a complex world. Highly readable and up to date, the book's balanced coverage of major theories and findings makes it an indispensable sourcebook and text. Among the book's unique features are four chapters addressing the content of stereotypes, an area that has been relatively ignored in contemporary treatments. Considered are the characteristics associated with over a dozen groups that have traditionally been the victims of stereotypes; why certain traits tend to be stereotyped more often than others; and how traits become attributed to particular groups. Including many useful examples, and identifying important directions for future research, this book belongs on the desks of all researchers, professors, and students interested in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. It serves as an outstanding text for advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This book has taken a long time to get from my desk to yours. I began work on the manuscript about 15 years ago, and both I and the publisher had assumed I would produce a tidy manuscript in a couple of years. Well, as I discovered, there is nothing tidy about the area of stereotyping.

There were times during this process when I had the distinct sense that people were producing relevant research papers faster than I could read them. As I put the final touches on this book, I have a working bibliography of well over 10,000 books, chapters, and papers, and I am sure I could generate another 5,000 or so by looking in more obscure places and by broadening my definition of stereotypes even slightly. I have not cited most of those materials, and it has been frustrating to have to cut out many, especially older, references.

This book documents major changes that have taken place in the ways we think about stereotypes and affiliated notions such as prejudice and discrimination. People who were studying stereotypes, say, 40 or 50 years ago were often wrong in the ways they thought about the area, but the older papers were forged in a quite different intellectual and political milieu than my own and may well have been as legitimate for their time as our present perspectives are for ours. Moreover, as someone who takes very seriously the history of psychology, I am well aware that what seems clear to me and my generation will seem naive, even wrong, 40 or 50 years from now.

But here it is. My family will be happy it is done, and my students can quit asking, "Is your book done yet?" (My colleagues quit asking a decade ago.) It has been the most intellectually rewarding effort of my life, but whether it is the best others will have to judge. My hope, of course, is that the book will be useful not only to my fellow scholars in both stereotyping and broader areas but also to students and even brave lay folks. Most of what most people (including a good many social scientists) think about stereotypes is at best slightly askew, and at worst simply wrong. In saying this I do not speak from a position of intellectual certainty or arrogance. I am not a bit sure that we know enough yet to know what's right, but we do know what's wrong. It is my hope that a book that summarizes what we do know will carry our les-

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