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the Allies. Another major theoretical approach

to emerge on the topic of prejudice was

that put forward by Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno

and his colleagues regarding what they called

the authoritarian personality. Drawing upon the

principles of Freudian psychoanalysis, Adorno

focused on early childhood learning processes to

explain the propensities of some people to adopt

rigid, inflexible, and prejudicial attitudes towards

certain minority groups and their members.

According to this theory, the early childhood experience

of growing up in a highly regimented,

strictly disciplined household could often produce

prejudice prejudice


a personality structure in children that is highly

submissive to the dictates of established authority

figures and intolerant of people(s) who do not

conform to those dictates. This personality structure

predisposes individuals to chauvinistic persecution

of people who do not subscribe to the

ethnic and/or cultural values to which they were

compelled to adhere as children. Once established

in the deep psyche of the individual, this personality

structure becomes relatively impervious to

rational critique and hence relatively resistant

to change. These earliest approaches tended to

locate the cause of prejudice in psychopathological

learning processes and thereby to delimit

the focus of analyses to only those people thought

to have undergone them. While certain segments

of the human population were held to be guilty of

prejudice, the vast majority were not seen to be

implicated in the reproduction of prejudice and


Research following on from the pioneering

work of Harvard social psychologist Gordon

Allport (1897–1967) has suggested that prejudice

is not only the result of psychopathology but

also results from much more routine and pervasive

learning processes. This research opened the

door to much more encompassing theories concerning

both the causes and the prevalence of

prejudice. According to Allport, the human mind

cannot dispense with what he called categorical

thinking, and what is now more commonly

known as stereotypical thinking, because it is the

function of the mind to simplify and systematize

the diverse sensory and cognitive inputs to which

it is exposed. Were it not to do so, we would be

hopelessly ill-equipped to act in the world. However,

this natural mental function can serve to

create significant social problems when our

stereotypes are based on flawed information and

are applied indiscriminately to whole minority

groups and their members. While acknowledging

the role played by psychodynamic pathologies in

creating prejudice, Allport insisted in The Nature

of Prejudice (1954) we must supplement psychodynamic

explanations with explanations that

speak to the whole spectrum of processes, both

normal and abnormal, that figure in the development

of our personalities. These include social,

cultural, and economic processes as well as psychodynamic

ones. Allport properly insisted that any

adequate understanding of prejudice must allow

that it can be caused by many different kinds of

things occurring in a person’s life. However, as a

social psychologist he was quite understandably

predisposed to focus on the personality of the

individual actor as the critical apparatus upon

which these various processes must act if they

are to become manifest as prejudice. For Allport

and his followers, prejudice was most fundamentally

an “antipathy based on a faulty and inflexible

generalisation.” And just as he focused on the

social psychological processes that give rise to

prejudicial attitudes, his proposals for alleviating

prejudice focused on efforts to correct the erroneous

mental predispositions of individual actors

rather than the social structural circumstances

that compel those mental predispositions. From

this social psychological perspective, the basic

nature of prejudice is seen to reside in the mistaken

judgments of particular individuals rather

than in the inter-group conflicts and tensions endemic

to a social system. As one might imagine,

sociologists have sometimes been dissatisfied with

what they have taken to be the over-emphasis

on individuals in this approach and the concomitant

under-emphasis on macro-structural causes

of persistent prejudice and discrimination.

Several theoretical approaches have been taken

in research aimed at exploring such macrostructural

causes. One suggests that prejudicial

attitudes express what are in fact realistic group

conflicts. Far from expressing mistaken understandings

of the threat posed by out-groups and/

or their individual members, members of ingroups

are prejudiced against members of those

out-groups with whom they actually, or might

potentially, struggle over objectively scarce resources.

Another related theoretical approach

follows in the tradition of Herbert Blumer’s group

position model. According to Blumer, in a variety

of publications relating to “Collective Behavior” in

A. M. Lee, New Outline of the Principles of Sociology

(1946), and “Social Movements” in A. M. Lee, Principles

of Sociology (1955), members of an in-group

must share an outlook comprised of four key features

for prejudice to arise: (1) a feeling of superiority,

(2) a belief that an out-group is intrinsically

different and alien, (3) a sense of proprietary claim

to certain privileges and resources, and (4) a sense

of threat from members of subordinate groups

upon the dominant group’s prerogatives. In

contrast to the realistic group conflict model,

Blumer’s group position model focuses on the

perceptions of in-group members that their prerogatives

are under threat rather than the objective

reality of the threat itself. This highlights not

only that prejudice may arise from perceptions

that may or may not be accurate, but also the

notion that there is an affective, as well as a purely

instrumental, dimension to the felt conflict

prejudice prejudice


between members of an in-group and an outgroup.

More than merely observing an objective

conflict of interest, in-group members feel a normative

sense that this conflict ought to be resolved

in favor of their own group and that not

only their own personal prerogatives but the prerogatives

of their group as a whole ought not to be

threatened. This highlights how prejudice must be

understood as not just the negative attitudes of an

individual towards an out-group, but negative attitudes

necessarily mediated by a sense of group

membership and commitments to the well-being

of that group as a whole in comparison with other

groups. Other important approaches to the study

of prejudice include the ideological control and

paternalism model, the social dominance model,

and social identity models. While not necessarily

conflicting with the realistic group conflict and

group position models, these models tend not to

focus as much attention on overt conflict and

threat. The ideological control and paternalism

model argues that prejudice arises when efforts

are made by members of a dominant group to

legitimize their expropriative relationship with a

subordinate group ideologically. In this effort they

will seek to minimize overt hostilities by proffering

deflated images of the aptitudes of subordinated

group members and a paternalistic sense of

obligation to look after them. This approach suggests

that prejudice may not always be expressed

in hostile terms but may also be expressed in

terms connoting warmth and concern for the welfare

of subordinated group members. The social

dominance model highlights a sense of entitlement

felt by in-group members to dominance in

their relations with out-group members, but does

not call so much attention to their felt sense of

competition with and threat from members of an

out-group. Finally, social identity models point to

the fact that prejudices against out-groups and

their individual members may often arise as a

consequence of in-group loyalties as such and the

wide range of instrumental and affective satisfactions

that come from our self-categorization as

members of an in-group. DARIN WEINBERG

pressure group

– see group(s)


Referring to influence, reputation, or popular

esteem, this concept is often mistakenly treated

as a synonym for social status. Status refers to

the social position a person occupies in a social

hierarchy. Prestige refers to the esteem assigned

to social position. Prestige comes in two general

forms. Ascribed prestige refers to the generation

of esteem based upon rank. For example, a people

assign prestige to a monarch by virtue of bloodline;

or to a physician on the basis of the honorific

value of the occupation. Achieved prestige refers

to the assignment of esteem on the basis of the

accomplishments of the individual. For example,

John Lennon (1940–80) of the Beatles was esteemed

as a result of his success as a popular entertainer

and campaigner for peace, and Nelson Mandela

(1918– ), the founder of the African National

Congress in south Africa, is honored for his stance

on human rights and anti-racism. The trend in

modern democracies is for ascribed prestige to

be replaced by achieved prestige. However, because

democracies create opportunities for

achievement that generate unequal rewards in

economic wealth and distinction, they support

new types of ascribed prestige. For example, in

the United States, Caroline Kennedy does not

occupy a formal rank in society. Nonetheless, she

commands a type of ascribed prestige by virtue of

the accomplishments of her parents, John and

Jackie Kennedy. Democracies weaken traditional

status hierarchies, but they create the conditions

for new hierarchies based on achievement, which

in turn confer prestige through inheritance.

Because esteem has value it is subject to contrivance

and imposture. In traditional society this

often took the form of illegal claims to bloodline.

In contemporary society they more commonly take

the form of the tabloid media constructing celebrities

for public consumption and pecuniary gain.

The magnification of celebrity culture is often

held to result in the leveling down of prestige

and is linked with secularization, rationalization,

and bureaucratization.

Prestige may wax and wane according to the

performance of the individual who occupies a

status position. For example, a monarch may

behave in ways that offend his people, or a doctor

may misplace the trust placed in his occupation

by behaving in a way that is harmful to others. In

cases like this, we speak of dissonance between

prestige and social status. The inverse of prestige

is notoriety, which is a condition in which the

dissonance between status and performance has

been scandalized.

In mainstream American sociology the concept

is more narrowly associated with research on

occupation and occupational ranking. Quantitative

sociology has devised a series of scales which

purport to measure prestige. CHRIS ROJEK

pressure group prestige


primary group

– see group(s).

primitive society

In prototype, primitive society was an explicit

object of philosophical speculation and naturalhistorical

curiosity from the moment that the first

European explorers returned from Africa and the

Americas. By the middle of the nineteenth century

and until the 1920s, it was the analytical preserve

of anthropology and analytical attention accorded

it was anthropological by definition. As Adam

Kuper points out in The Invention of the Primitive

(1988), it was, for nineteenth-century theorists, of

a piece with ancient society; if distinguished from

the latter at all, it was distinguished as the most

ancient of the forms of society that, as a matter of

historically particular fact or general evolutionary

law, had preceded the modern present. Examples

of it survived, but they were in the present without

being of it, “living fossils” that had somehow

refused or failed to change.

If the first hallmark of primitive society was

thus its primordiality, the second was its simplicity

or elementariness. It manifested little if any

institutional differentiation. Its primary matrix

of the distribution of roles and statuses was that

of kinship and its typical system of kinship a

classificatory system that pressed relationships

of differing degrees of mutual propinquity into

a common pigeonhole. Technologically, it constrained

its members to hunt and gather. Cognitively

and intellectually, it exhibited an analogous

lack of rigor and discernment. Most theorists

could agree that primitive man was endowed

with the same basic powers of perception and

judgment as his modern counterpart, but those

powers had yet to develop beyond those of a child.

He might be practical enough to survive, but not

yet sufficiently astute to recognize even the

principle of physiological paternity. He could

engage in the wildest flights of mythological fancy,

but had no sense of history and no means either of

fashioning or of grasping moral and conceptual


The concept of primitive society underwent

three notable changes in the course of the twentieth

century. At the vanguard of the first are

Bronislaw Malinowski and American cultural anthropologists

such as Ruth Benedict (1887–1948).

With them, primitive society is divested of its

primordiality and retains a simplicity no longer

differing in kind but only in degree from the

societies that abut or otherwise invite comparison

with it. The second change owes something to the

ethnography of India but even more to Claude

Le´vi-Strauss. In its aftermath, primitive society is

neither bereft of intellectuals nor ignorant of history.

It instead joins its qualitatively more complex

but still traditional societies in resisting the

existential and social significance of the difference

between the past and present and future.

The third of the changes comes with the rejection

of the subliminal evolutionism and the

subliminal progressivism that inform the distinction

between primitive and modern. Its key

texts remain Renato Rosaldo’s Ilongot Headhunting

(1980), Richard Price’s First-Time (1983), and

Johannes Fabian’s Time and the Other (1983).



The importance of privacy is often associated with

the “quarrel between the ancients and moderns.”

This expression came from the title of a famous

lecture on “The Liberty of the Ancients Compared

with that of the Moderns” in 1819 by the French

political philosopher Benjamin Constant (1767–

1830), which is reprinted in his Political Writings

(1988). This lecture compared the respect for

public institutions and public space in the ancient

world with the emphasis on conscience and individual

subjectivity in modern society. Constant

argued that the liberty of the ancients, which

arose from their active engagement in politics,

required the sacrifice of their personal interests

to those of the polis. By contrast, the moderns

pursue their personal pleasures, regarding politics

as merely a means to protect their private lives.

The concept of privacy is thus interconnected

with a range of other key concepts in political

and social theory, such as individual rights, the

state and the social contract.

In contemporary thought, privacy is closely associated

with individualism, because private space

outside the public realm is assumed to be important

for cultivating and protecting the individual

from social scrutiny and political surveillance. In

the liberal theory of John Locke (1632–1704), the

protection of the rights of individuals is held to be

essential to guard against the threat of arbitrary

rule by authoritarian governments. Civil rights

refer to the legal entitlements of free and rational

agents, who combine, by means of a social contract,

to form a state, whose sole purpose is to

guarantee their enjoyment of these privileges.

The minimalist theory of the state, for example

the night watchman state, is a product of liberalism,

because the only justification for the state is

the protection of the liberties of individuals to do

as they please, namely to enjoy their privacy.

primary group Privacy


In classical Greece, private affairs were often

negatively defined in opposition to the public

sphere and public duty. The private arena was

associated with deprivation (privatus), while the

public sphere was one of freedom and reason,

where citizens congregated for political debate

and economic exchange. The autonomous individual

could only exist and develop in the public

domain. In political philosophy, this contrast has

been an important aspect of the modern theory of

totalitarianism. In The Origins of Totalitarianism

(1958), Hannah Arendt argued that in modern

society people are forced out of a shared public

world into a lonely, isolated, and interior space.

In their isolation, pressures towards social uniformity

undermine their individual autonomy, and

they are psychologically exposed to totalitarian


According to Arendt, this clear distinction between

private and public has been confused in

modern times by the emergence of “the social.”

In modern society, people are bound together, but

these common threads are paradoxically the private

desires of consumption and a common mass

culture. In a mass society, the social becomes the

basis for mass conformity and the moral calling of

the political sinks into petty politics. The noble art

of politics as a life of virtue becomes merely a

trade in power and influence.

Arendt’s vision of modern society was debated

by David Riesman in The Lonely Crowd. A Study of the

Changing American Character (1950), in which he

contrasted the tradition-directed personalities

who are conformists and merely reproduce traditional

culture with the inner-directed personality

who emerged with the Renaissance and the Reformation.

By contrast, the other-directed personality

of modern America (and other societies dominated

by the mass media) craves approval from

others. The social relations of the other-directed

character are mediated by the flow of mass communication,

and their demand for social approval

is an aspect of liberal, middle-class socialization.

Riesman’s criticisms of American society in

the 1950s bore a close resemblance to Herbert

Marcuse’s analysis of the ‘happy consciousness’

in his One-Dimensional Man (1964), but they were

also related to the study of individualism in colonial

America by Alexis de Tocqueville. In his The

Idea of the Self (2005), Jerrold Seigel has shown how,

especially in the social philosophy of J.-J. Rousseau

(1712–78), there is a well established view that the

conscience of the individual requires protection

from public opinion, and this protection is an

important aspect of privacy.

In contemporary sociology, writers like Amitai

Etzioni in The Limits of Privacy (1999) have raised

critical questions about the benefits of the protection

of privacy for public life, but one can also

argue that privacy has been further transformed

by modern technologies (such as closed-circuit

television) which allow the individual to be under

constant surveillance. In addition, changes to the

law relating, for example, to notions of sexual

harassment in the workplace mean that the

private /public distinction has broken down, because

the law can intervene into people’s “private”

sexual activities. BRYAN S. TURNER

private and public spheres

– see public sphere.

process sociology

– see Norbert Elias.


– see profession(s).


A group of occupations (for example, doctors,

lawyers, and clergy) who provide highly specialized

services, based typically on an esoteric body

of knowledge, which only they can assess. They

thus experience autonomy over their own work,

and direct others in the conduct of their occupations.

They have monopolistic control in their area

of expertise (only doctors can practice medicine),

and they exercise dominance over subordinate

occupations. Their claims to monopoly and dominance

are backed by state legislation. In return

for this autonomy, they govern themselves by abiding

to a code of ethics by which they are required to

put their client’s interests ahead of their own,

are in a fiduciary relationship with their client

(that is, one of trust), and put their client’s needs

ahead of any self-interested profit-making.

For E´mile Durkheim professional associations

played a central role in fostering trust and stability

in a society otherwise driven by utilitarian selfinterest,

an argument captured in the title of his

work Professional Ethics and Civic Morals (1957), a

posthumous translation of the Lec¸ons de sociologie

(1950). This line of analysis was further developed

by Talcott Parsons in the Social System (1951, especially

chapter 10). Taking the medical profession

as an example, Parsons argued that it was

characterized by a number of distinctive practices

which distinguished medical practitioners from

other occupations in a market economy. They are

universalistic in their orientation; they provide

Privacy profession(s)

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