Stereotype Dynamics: Language-Based Approaches to the Formation, Maintenance, and Transformation of Stereotypes

Stereotype Dynamics: Language-Based Approaches to the Formation, Maintenance, and Transformation of Stereotypes

Stereotype Dynamics: Language-Based Approaches to the Formation, Maintenance, and Transformation of Stereotypes

Stereotype Dynamics: Language-Based Approaches to the Formation, Maintenance, and Transformation of Stereotypes

Synopsis

This volume addresses the role of communication in stereotype dynamics, while placing the phenomenon of social stereotypes appropriately in the socio-cultural context. Stereotype Dynamics assembles top researchers in the field to investigate stereotype formation, maintenance, and transformation through interpersonal facets of communication.

Section one presents meta-theoretical perspectives, strongly informed by theories and empirical research. Subsequent parts address the following research questions in the perspectives of language-based communication:

  • What do the signs in a language mean, and how do the meanings of the signs shape stereotypes?
  • How do people usethose signs intentionally or unintentionally? Is language use biased in some way?
  • How do language users' identities affect the meaning of a particular language usein social context?
  • What are the social consequences of language-based communication? Does language-based communication provide a basis for the formation, maintenance, and transformation or social stereotypes?

This timely book is ideal for advanced students, scholars, and researchers in social psychology, and related disciplines such as human communications and sociolinguistics. It is also appropriate for use as a supplement in upper level courses on prejudice and stereotyping.

Excerpt

History brings a new horizon—and a new challenge. in today’s globalizing world, the age old problem of stereotypes has taken on a new dimension, and presents a new challenge to social psychology. At the beginning of the 21st century, globalization has provided the unprecedented opportunities for us to communicate with each other, and to obtain information from far flung parts of the world. in an instant, we send and receive a message, communicating with someone on the other side of the planet; a telecommunication device presents an image of a distant land and voices of people whom we have never seen or even heard of. At the same time, globalization has ushered in the era in which we are making decisions and judgments that affect groups of people who live in a distant corner of the world, and with whom we have little direct contact. Should we support our government’s policy to send troops to a foreign country; should we express support or opposition, moral outrage or sympathy, to one side or the other of an international conflict; or should we support an effort to provide a humanitarian aid to the victims of a natural disaster thousands of miles away? Such decisions and judgments are, more often than not, colored by stereotypes. If so, how do we form and maintain those stereotypes of the people about whom we have little firsthand information? Secondhand information we obtain from other people through communication must play a significant role in the contemporary world.

Certainly, social cognitive approaches to stereotypes have provided us with a wealth of knowledge about how the individual mind handles information about social groups and what effects stereotypes may have—how information is encoded, stored, and retrieved to affect judgments, decisions, and a variety of behaviors in social context. However, when we consider stereotyping in the contemporary world, interpersonal communication emerges as one of the neglected topics in social psychological inquiries about the dynamic formation, maintenance, and transformation of culturally shared stereotypes. Namely, stereotypes based on secondhand information may affect our judgments and decisions with equally important, or even greater, social consequences. This volume addresses the role of communication—especially language-based communication—in stereotype dynamics, which complements the social cognitive insights with language-based approaches to stereotypes that take commu-

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