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Comparing tajfels social identity theory and scapegoating theory in explaining prejudice essay

They believed that only those with a personality defect could be prejudice, these people were not only prejudice toward one particular social group but all minority groups.

The authoritarian personality is defined by certain characteristics. Such as need for order, high respect for authority, displacement of anger onto weaker individuals and an obsession with status. However, there are certain restrictions when considering personality explanations of prejudice. The main concern being that not every child brought up with excessive, harsh discipline then becomes prejudice.

Specifically, in society today egalitarian values are emphasised and expected, so if a person feels they have acted in a way that displays prejudice then they may feel guilty. The individual has noticed a difference in the way they acted to their values causing the guilt; this guilt can be the motivation a person needs to change their behaviour and ultimately their prejudice attitude.

This theory how there can be a variation in the amount of prejudice that people display but not the reasoning behind why individuals want to eliminate prejudice. In general one of the problems of individual differences as a cause of prejudice is that is does not apply easily to large groups of people who are prejudice.

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There is a need of a cultural mentality to result in large scale prejudice such as the apartheid in South Africa between 1948 and 1994. Inter-group theories are able to address this issue. Inter-group theories involve the categorizing of people into distinct groups. Sherif, White and Harvey 1955 found that when people are divided into groups it created an environment in which group comparison and the desire to partake in competition was immediately evident.

Comparing tajfel’s social identity theory and scapegoating theory in explaining prejudice Essay

For instance sexism in the work place could be an example of realistic group conflict theory because of the competition for the jobs and internal promotion. Employers are more likely to show favouritism for their own groups and derogation of the out groups in order to secure their own futures. When participants were divided into groups based on the type of abstract painter they preferred they allocated those not in their group lower points, therefore displaying inter-group bias.

This demonstrates the minimal condition for prejudice to occur; because as soon as we know that someone is in a different group to us we are likely to discriminate on that basis. Tajfel and Turner 1979 devised the theory of social identification. They assumed that people wanted positive self-esteem and one contributor to self esteem is the groups which we belong to.

Therefore, if the groups we belong to have a high status and are positively perceived then this boost our self esteem because as we are members of that group we should be perceived in the same way.

Compare and contrast two approaches to the study of prejudice Paper

In this way it benefits our self esteem to improve the positive image of the group compared to the out-groups and so this is another way that prejudice could develop. Therefore, if the group norm is one which allows prejudice then individuals will also display this attribute. The categories the participants were separated into were supposedly based on the preference of a painter and so perhaps had other aspects in common.

  • Furthermore , Tajfel 1971 suggests that resource allocation is done unequally ,in particular they will favor their own group at the expense of out-group;
  • Encouraging people to see themselves as part of a larger social identity can combat outgroup discrimination.

To rectify this Tafjel replicated the study with some alterations. The participants knew that they were allocated to groups on a purely random basis. Even so, there was still inter-group bias. However, the findings were not as large a number as in the previous study.

Inter-group theories give a good account of how the groups we belong to influence our prejudice.

Comparing tajfel’s social identity theory and scapegoating theory in explaining prejudice

However, we must remember that we have control over out thoughts and actions. Consequently, we can choose not to conform to group norms and also not to express prejudice. Individual differences in prejudice consider these aspects more.

Prejudice is a complex multi faceted concept with many different contributing factors. The individual difference approach considers how personality affects individuals and the extent to which they express prejudice.

However, this approach does not explain large scale prejudice across cultures and other groups. The inter-group theories demonstrate the categorization of people into two main groups, the in and out groups.

These theories give a more accepted explanation of prejudice.

  • In general one of the problems of individual differences as a cause of prejudice is that is does not apply easily to large groups of people who are prejudice;
  • When the camps were brought back together for some competitions, where there were prizes for the winners what Sherif coined a mutually exclusive goal because what one group gained the other lost , hostility and fierce competitiveness arose which rapidly generalized to any situation; ethnocentric attitudes and behaviour got worse and so did levels of intergroup aggression and ingroup solidarity.

However, there are still short coming in these theories. For example the need for explanation as to why some people are resistant to the social conditions that should exert prejudice. Subsequently, the deduction is that explanations of prejudice need to consider both approaches to obtain the most informative and balanced conclusion.

  • Towards a cognitive redefinition of the social group;
  • In contrast to the above theory;
  • For example if l am a soccer fan and we are discussing the play of the play of an opposing team , l might advocate for my team that plays much better than the opposing team;
  • You pay particular attention to ingroup members and adopt their values, attitudes, appearance and behaviour;
  • Members of the in-group will try to make themselves look unique from out-group as they endeavor this uniqueness to prove a spirit of social identity.

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