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Example research essay topic: Social Psychology And Theories On Racism - 1,414 words

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... This was fairly effective to the extent that the Eagles and the Rattlers became closer, but conflict was not reduced, strictly speaking, because they held hatred for their common enemy. The next year Sherif again set the groups against each other and then tried resolving the conflict by bringing them together in pleasant surroundings to eat excellent food and watch movies. That didn't work because all they did was fight.

Sherif then tried confronting the two hostile groups with a common threat. For example, a water shortage 'suddenly developed' or the trucks bringing their food 'broke down' when the boys were particularly hungry. In these cases, the problems could only be solved if they co-operated. This technique worked. Sherif suggests that giving the groups overriding, super ordinate goals can reduce group conflicts. But, he says, many of the group leaders will continue to see co-operation on solving such common problems as a sign of weakness.

It is generally accepted that joint problem solving is an effective way of reducing conflict between groups and individuals and of increasing cohesion within a group, although this needs to be in a non-competitive situation. The conclusion is that co-operation on shared goals is important in resolving conflict. Simply stopping the fighting or bringing hostile groups together is not enough. Co-operation must be created at diverse levels in the social system, which builds a sense of positive interdependence. The realistic group conflict theory basically states the when direct competition between groups over scarce resources occurs, prejudice between the groups arises. Holland and Sears tested this theory by comparing the level of the economy of cotton from 1882 - 1930 to the level of lynching (hate crimes).

The theory was as cottons value decreased, the amount of lynching would rise, or as the value of cotton rose, lynching would decline. The study found a negative correlation of (-. 72), although Green, in 1998, found the relation is not so strong. The discriminating factor of this theory seems to be competition, when competition is reduced the prejudice is reduced. In the Sharif study the conflict and prejudice decreased as cooperation increased. When two groups compete over scarce resources, a feeling of helplessness occurs. Only one group can get the scarce resource.

At an individual level, nothing can be done to change the situation, so instead of trying to raise one and ones group, a venting of frustration occurs, trying to equalize the two groups. In both the realistic group conflict theory and the scapegoat theory, frustration creates hostile impulses, which is displaced onto the out-group. In the scapegoat theory the rationalization is more internalized as opposed to a group rationalization. The scapegoat theory differs in the actual rationalization of the prejudice, in realistic group theory the competition between the two groups creates the hostility, but in the scapegoat theory the hostility and frustration is not created by the actual scapegoat. The major differences between the socio-cultural and symptom theories are on what level the prejudice occurs, group or individual. The socio-cultural theories are based on the group and how it develops prejudice, while the symptom theories are based on how the individual develops prejudice.

Socio-cultural theories (realistic group, socialization, conformity) are based on the group and how the group reacts to environmental factors that develop racism. Society controls the prejudice, not the individual. Prejudice is related to ones general tendency to conform to society. Prejudice is related to conflict between two groups. Prejudice is related to changes in social norms. When these occur the group changes.

The group rationalizes the prejudice. Symptom theories (scapegoat, authoritarian personality model) are based more on the individual and their reaction to the frustration, socializing, and group conformity. When the individual cant make a goal, they may feel anger, frustration, and disappointment. These feelings are then internalized individually, and released onto a social group.

The socialization theory of prejudice is based on the idea that socializing agents (parents, friends, TV. ) affect the way we think about a certain group of people. Through rewarding appropriate racial behaviors, and punishing or discouraging inappropriate racial behaviors, our views change. Children also learn to behave a certain way toward certain races through modeling, copying another's behavior that is deemed appropriate. The child may model a parent, friend, or other non-parental socializing agent. The authoritarian personality model is based on social learning. Adorno in 1950 developed the theory.

Parents pass the authoritarianism to children. The children become submissive to authority, they become blindly obedient, trusting authority. They develop conventional ideals, traditional norms, and intolerance for deviance; any out-group violates the norm. They become aggressive with a predisposition to hurt others. They organize their world in terms of a system of power hierarchies, which they adhere to.

Adorno believed that authoritarians hated deviant impulses, and were more likely to externalize these unacceptable impulses to others through projection of emotions. The projected emotions tend to be out-groups that were not accepted by the authoritarians. The individual doesnt believe that they possess the undesirable qualities and that the out-groups possess these undesirable characteristics. The relation of the parents and the child make up this theory, which is why it is an individual level theory rather than a socio-cultural theory. The child has a strong dependence for the parents but at the same time fear, hatred, and suspicion of them, which is then internalized, and displaced onto the out-group or minority.

Joe expresses these forms of racism according to the Britain article: arms length prejudice and real likes and dislikes. Joe by engaging in friendly, positive behaviors toward his out-group members, by working, going to school, and attending church, but when a member of the out-group marries a member of his in-group, Joe becomes mad. Joe seems to have a fear of intimacy with the out-group by not feeling it socially acceptable for them to marry into his in-group. When the out-group member is in a setting where they are sharing intimate behaviors and private thoughts, Joes opinion of the out-group changes.

His appearance of acceptance of out-group members most of the time makes it hard for detection of his arms length prejudice by others. When Joe feels the out-group is responsible for social problems (crime, drugs, AIDS, etc. ) in his city, he is showing his negative feelings about the out-group, because certain members of the group engage in behaviors Joe dislikes. His aversion to those behaviors shows he falls into the category of likes and dislikes. Joes prejudice allows for him to vent some personal anger against an unknowing out-group, by disliking the marriage between his in-group and the out-group, and his blaming the out-group as a whole for the social problems certain members of the group cause. Crandalls Attribution-Value Model of prejudice hypothesizes that people are prejudiced against groups that they feel have some negative attribute for which they are held responsible. He suggests that a significant amount of the affective component of attitudes and prejudice toward groups is based on two interrelated factors: attributions of controllability and cultural value.

He hypothesized that the prejudice derives from holding group members responsible for negative stereotypic behavior, and by judging the individuals responsible for theyre stereotypic attributes, in turn leads to prejudice against them. The second factor of prejudice is a negative cultural value for an attribute that characterizes the social group. In order for the prejudice to affect the group a negative characteristic has to be associated with the group, but individual may be judged on an individual basis. His attribution model is an ideological theory of prejudice. The hypotheses is that prejudice can come from perceptual processes based on beliefs about causality and personal and cultural values for traits, characteristics, and stereotypic attributes about members of a group. Deservingness is a factor, like in Feathers model of deserving ness, responsibility for the action that leads to the outcome and when the outcome matches the value of the action.

This differs from modern racism. In modern racism the issue is how equality should be implemented, there are in-groups and out-groups, there is contact between the two groups to develop ways to create equality. According to the modern racist, there is conflict that needs to be changed, but the problem is how not why. Modern racists do feel a need to change the situation, but in the attribution model the people who are prejudiced against seem to be deserving of the treatment, i. e. , Crandalls study of treatment of fat people.


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Research essay sample on Social Psychology And Theories On Racism

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