The Nature of Prejudice: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Nature of Prejudice

1st Edition

By Alexander O’Connor

Macat Library

98 pages

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Description

With his 1954 book The Nature of Prejudice, American psychologist Gordon Allport displays the crucial skill of reasoning, producing and organizing an argument that was persuasive enough to have a major impact not only in universities, but also on government policy.

The question that Allport tackled was an old one: why are people so disposed to prejudice against those from other groups? Earlier psychologists had suggested a number of reasons, especially in the case of racial prejudice. Some had suggested that racism was a learned behaviour, conditioned by negative experiences of other races; others that there was an objective rationale to negative racial stereotypes.

Allport, however, reasoned that prejudice is essentially a by-product of the necessary mental shortcuts the human brain uses to process the vast amount of information it takes in. Because our brains want to use as little effort as possible, they regularly fall back on simple stereotypes – which easily generate prejudice. Gathering strong evidence for this hypothesis, he reasoned, clearly and persuasively, that our natural cognitive approach is the most significant factor in accounting for prejudice. Going further still, Allport also reasoned that, once this was better understood, social scientists would be able to influence policy-makers to curb discrimination by law.

Table of Contents

Ways in to the text Who was Gordon W. Allport? What does The Nature of Prejudice say? Why does The Nature of Prejudice matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today  Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited

About the Author

Dr Alexander O’Connor did his postgraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a PhD for work on Social and Personality Psychology.

About the Series

The Macat Library

Great Works for Critical Thinking

Making the ideas of the world’s great thinkers accessible, affordable, and comprehensible to everybody, everywhere. 

With a growing list of over 180 titles across a broad range of subject areas, Macat works with leading academics from the world’s top universities to produce new analyses that focus on the ideas and the impact of the most influential works ever written. By setting them in context – and looking at the influences that shaped their authors, as well as the responses they provoked – Macat encourages readers to look at these classics and game-changers with fresh eyes.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSY000000
PSYCHOLOGY / General