Compare and Contrast critically evaluate in light of relevant research and theoretical reasoning
A major focus of psychology is in understanding why group conflict, inequality and ethnocentrism occur. Many researchers have developed theories and presented evidence to try and explain these issues and two predominant approaches have emerged. The first approach focuses on the relatively stable personality differences that people show in their general orientation towards ethnocentrism and inequality (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). Social Dominance Theory (SDT) proposes that people exhibit different levels of social dominance orientation, a desire to dominate members of other groups and a desire for continued hierarchical relations between groups (Sidanius & Pratto, 1999). The alternative approach focuses on social and situational factors as causes of ethnocentrism. The dominant theory here is Social Identity Perspective (SIP), which is comprised of Social Identity Theory (SIT) (Tajfel & Turner, 1986) and Self-Categorization Theory (SCT) (Oakes, Haslam & Turner, 1994). Social Identity Perspective proposes that ethnocentrism occurs when people are depersonalized: they see themselves as members of a salient group rather than unique individuals. This process leads them to adopt a social identity where their ideas, attitudes, values and behaviours tend to reflect norms of their group and their main goal is to see their group as positive and distinct (Turner, 1987).
This essay will consider how these approaches define ethnocentrism and will provide an outline of how they explain ethnocentrism. It will then compare and contrast the theories, and consider the strengths and limitations of each with reference to the large body of research in this field. In light of the limitations of viewing ethnocentrism as due to a relatively stable, individual disposition to inequality, the essay... [continues]
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