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Essentialist beliefs about social categories

Essentialist beliefs about social categories This study examines beliefs about the ontological status of social categories, asking whether their members are understood to share fixed, inhering essences or natures. Forty social categories were rated on nine elements of essentialism. These elements formed two independent dimensions, representing the degrees to which categories are understood as natural kinds and as coherent entities with inhering cores (‘entitativity’ or reification), respectively. Reification was negatively associated with categories evaluative status, especially among those categories understood to be natural kinds. Essentialism is not a unitary syndrome of social beliefs, and is not monolithically associated with devaluation and prejudice, but it illuminates several aspects of social categorization. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png British Journal of Social Psychology Wiley

Essentialist beliefs about social categories

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References (8)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
2000 The British Psychological Society
ISSN
0144-6665
eISSN
2044-8309
DOI
10.1348/014466600164363
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study examines beliefs about the ontological status of social categories, asking whether their members are understood to share fixed, inhering essences or natures. Forty social categories were rated on nine elements of essentialism. These elements formed two independent dimensions, representing the degrees to which categories are understood as natural kinds and as coherent entities with inhering cores (‘entitativity’ or reification), respectively. Reification was negatively associated with categories evaluative status, especially among those categories understood to be natural kinds. Essentialism is not a unitary syndrome of social beliefs, and is not monolithically associated with devaluation and prejudice, but it illuminates several aspects of social categorization.

Journal

British Journal of Social PsychologyWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2000

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