chapter  8
11 Pages

‘Stereotypes’ and the Construction of the Social World

ByPerry R. Hinton

The vast majority of the research into stereotypes, since Walter Lippmann’s proposal in 1922, has concerned the relationship between certain stereotypes and discrimination in the United States. Stereotypes have had a significant position in the battle against prejudice in American society, in particular in the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and sexism. The stereotypes of the discriminated-against groups associate them with negative attributes or in the case of the Black stereotype and the stereotype of women, as lacking in capability compared to Whites and men. Stereotypes such as ‘the rich are greedy’ or ‘the poor are lazy’ are prescriptive generalizations based on ideological beliefs and values. Stereotypes are generalization about the characteristics of social group members. Three types of generalization have been identified: prescriptive generalization, predicative generalization and normative generalization. What has been referred to as ‘stereotypes’ in the research literature has been demonstrated to be integral in the dynamic cultural process of social category construction and reconstruction.