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UNIT I DEFINITIONS,
THEORIES AND
BACKGROUND ISSUES
“Culture”
material and non-material products of a society
(physical artifacts, foods, technology, customs, values...)
SWK 410
Kimberly Baker-Abrams
“Ethnicity”
“Social Identity”
a learned cultural heritage shared by people of the
same race or nationality
part of self-concept that connects with membership in
social groups (value we place on membership)
There are two motives
associated with social identity
1. Our desire to be included and to be a part
of a group.
2. Our need for individualization and
separateness (cultural motive)
“Minority” (subordinate)
a group that differs from the dominate group in some
respect - often connected to power structure
Schaefer’s characteristics of
a “minority” group:
1. physical or cultural distinction
2. experience unequal treatment
3. ascribed membership
4. aware of subordinate status
According to Schaefer who is considered a
minority?
any group that fits the majority of the characteristics
(example - 4 out of 5)
5. practice endogamy
“Double Jeopardy”
“Ethnocentrism”
belonging to two separate subordinate groups
attitude that one’s own group, race or society is
superior to others
“Prejudice”
“Discrimination”
as defined by Allport - thinking ill of others without
sufficient warrant (thoughts and emotions)
behavior that excludes individuals from rights
(disenfranchized), opportunities or privileges (action)
What is the cycle for
prejudice and discrimination?
Robert Merton proposed
that there are four
categories of people to
explain the spectrum
between prejudice and
discrimination.
• prejudice and discrimination begin
• as a result a group is disadvantaged
• disadvantage is interpreted as inferiority
• leading to renewed prejudice and
discrimination
discriminate
Yes
No
Yes
active bigot
(prejudiced and
discriminates)
timid bigot
(prejudiced but does
not discriminate)
No
reluctant liberal (not
prejudiced but will
discriminate)
all weather liberal
(not prejudiced does
not discriminate)
2. Reluctant liberal
3. Timid bigot
4. Active bigot
prejudice
1. All weather liberal
How can the thoughts and
actions of others influence us?
• truth is we are greatly influenced
• 1939 Clark Doll Experiment
• 1968 Jane Elliott’s Experiment
Structural-functional
everything serves a function, when it ceases to serve a
function it will be replaced
Social conflict
conflict and tension between systems (power
structure) look at who is benefitting and why
Symbolic interaction
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• interactions are based on shared meaning
and use of symbols (how we interpret)
• connection with labeling theory and selffulfilling prophecy
How do stereotypes
influence our thinking?
always have some basis in reality
+ make world more stable and predictable
- assume how others act and what they like
- insist that others should behave in certain
ways
- result in inaccurate perceptions of others’
behavior
Feminist theory
identify the attitudes, expectations, language, behaviors
and arrangements that oppress and marginalize
The Unified Theory proposes that
there are key forces behind ethnic
relations
• acts of discrimination
• identifiability
• access to resources
• sense of threat
• prevalence of negative stereotypes
• values of broader society
What impacts perceptions
and involvement in society?
• social identity (which changes over time)
and unconscious aspects of
• conscious
identity
• influence of context
• conflict and oppression
• micro relations
• personality
“Races” have their
differences in
learned behavior and learned beliefs about biological
features
No one is a bystander
in society
we either benefit or suffer in our interactions
Notice that race is not listed
as a prominent factor of
what can influence behavior
race is a cultural concept, not a biological fact (there
are not distinct genetic races of people)
The common conceptions
of race are based on
superficial features such as
hair, skin color, eye shape,
etc. NOT genetic
uniqueness
Distinction in races is
generally used to justify an
unequal distribution of
power, resources and rights
in a society - this is known
as RACISM
Race, even though a
flawed concept:
can not be ignored!! People’s responses to the race
labels produces real social consequences (self-fulfilling)
Ethnicity emerges as
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• groups interact (social and political
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negotiation)
• symbols become shared (meanings given to
group attributes)
Cultural stereotypes
An ethnic category
may take precedence over actual ethnic identity
• ascribe an ethnic identity that they person
may not have (confined socially)
• require the professional to understand how
individual’s identify themselves, not simply
look at the cultural groups to which they
are exposed
Theories on the development of
ethnic identity often emphasize
sequential stages of adaptation.
(Michael Winkelman (2005) in his book “Cultural
Awareness, Sensitivity & Competence.”)
Minority Ethnic Identity
Development
research in 1970’s on Black identity, and 1983 by
Atkinson, Morten and Sue
Dominant Groups Development
of Ethnic Awareness
• research in the 1970’s on Black identity
• 1988 Ponterotto
Types of Intercultural
Adaptation
• Ghettoization and Isolation
• Passing
• Nativistic Reactions
• Marginality
• Mediators and Middlemen
• Multiculturalism and Globalism
Minority Ethnic Identity
Development Sequences
• Conformity/Acceptance/Psychological
Captivity
• Dissonance
• Resistance and Encapsulation/Immersion
Clarification/
• Introspection/Identity
Redefinition
• Internalization and Synergistic Awareness
Majority Ethnic Awareness
Development Stages
• Pre-Exposure/Contact
• Exposure/Contact/Disintegration
Zealot-Paternalism
Defensive-Reintegration
• awareness, recognition and responsibility
• Pseudo-Independence
• Autonomy/Integration
Summary Thoughts
• aspects of identity are constructed in the
process of social interaction
• individual’s identity includes self-concept
and cognitions
• multicultural experiences lead to the
development of new aspects of self and
identity