'What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?' Further Reflections on the Limits of Prejudice Reduction as a Model of Social Change

John Dixon, Kevin Durrheim, Philippa Kerr, Manuela Thomae

Abstract


This paper aims to encourage greater reflexivity about the limits of prejudice reduction as a model of social change, particularly when applied to societies characterised by historically entrenched patterns of inequality. We begin by outlining some underlying values and assumptions of this model. We then elaborate how our research on political attitudes in post-apartheid South Africa has led us to question, qualify and sometimes reject those assumptions and move towards a ‘contextualist’ perspective on the efficacy of different models of social change. We agree that the project of getting us to like one another may be crucial for producing change in some contexts. In other contexts, however, it is an epiphenomenon that distracts psychologists from the main causes of, and solutions to, problems such as race, class, or gender discrimination. In still others, with an irony that is evidenced increasingly by research, prejudice reduction may actually contribute to the very problem it is designed to resolve. That is, it may diminish the extent to which social injustice is acknowledged, rejected and challenged.


Keywords


prejudice; prejudice reduction; intergroup relations; social change

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https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v1i1.234

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Citations:

  • John Dixon, Kevin Durrheim, Manuela Thomae (2015)
    International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, p. 218(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.24055-5
  • Rebecca Loader, Joanne Hughes (2017)
    Joining together or pushing apart? Building relationships and exploring difference through shared education in Northern Ireland
    Cambridge Journal of Education, 47(1), p. 117(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764X.2015.1125448
  • John Dixon, Kevin Durrheim, Manuela Thomae (2017)
    The Principle-Implementation Gap in Attitudes Towards Racial Equality (and How to Close It)
    Political Psychology, 38, p. 91(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12393
  • Joanne Hughes, Rebecca Loader (2015)
    ‘Plugging the gap’: shared education and the promotion of community relations through schools in Northern Ireland
    British Educational Research Journal, 41(6), p. 1142(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3206
  • Leda Blackwood, Andrew G. Livingstone, Colin Wayne Leach (2013)
    Regarding Societal Change
    Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 1(1), p. 105(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v1i1.282
  • Glenda M. Russell, Janis S. Bohan (2016)
    Institutional Allyship for LGBT Equality: Underlying Processes and Potentials for Change
    Journal of Social Issues, 72(2), p. 335(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1111/josi.12169
  • Mark R. Hoffarth, Gordon Hodson (2016)
    Who Needs Imagined Contact?
    Social Psychology, 47(2), p. 118(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1027/1864-9335/a000258
  • Lucas B. Mazur (2015)
    Prejudice Reduction and Collective Action: A Conflict or Confluence of Interests?
    Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 3(2), p. 291(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.5964/jspp.v3i2.324
  • Demis E. Glasford, Krystle Lynn Caraballo (2016)
    Collective action from a distance: Distance shapes how people view victims of injustice and decreases willingness to engage in collective action
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 19(1), p. 27(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430215570505
  • Tuuli Anna Mähönen, Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti (2015)
    The ironic effect of national identification on support for collective action
    European Journal of Social Psychology, 45(5), p. 567(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2118
  • Demis E. Glasford, Brian Johnston (2018)
    Respect the technique: Status-based respect increases minority group social cohesion with majority groups, while also increasing minority collective action tendencies
    The Journal of Social Psychology, 158(2), p. 201(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2017.1324395
  • Joan M. Ostrove, Kendrick T. Brown (2018)
    Are allies who we think they are?: A comparative analysis
    Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 48(4), p. 195(ff.)
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jasp.12502



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