How is social impairment different from stigma?
Discrimination and stigma against people with disabilities
Table of Contents
2. Perspectives on, disability ‘
2.1 Medical and psychological considerations
2.2 Legal considerations
2.3 Pedagogical view
2.4 Social and cultural studies
3. Stereotypes, prejudices and social discrimination
3.1 Social categorization and stereotyping
3.2 Causes and forms of prejudice
3.3 Social Discrimination
4. Stigma and the stigma
4.1 Origin of the term stigma
4.2 Erving Goffman's concept of 'stigma'
4.3 Types of stigmata
4.4 The causes and meaning of stigmata
4.5 Effects of stigma
5. Stigmatization and discrimination processes in society
5.1 Historical stigmatization and discrimination processes against people with disabilities
5.2 Causes and persistence of discrimination processes against people with disabilities
5.3 Current discrimination against people with disabilities
6. Destigmatization and anti-discrimination
6.1 Legal Remedies
6.1.1 UN CRPD
6.1.2 Federal German legislation
6.2 Integration and inclusion
6.3 Self-determination and empowerment
6.4 Challenges for social work
People with disabilities often do not correspond to the normative image that society has of themselves, and it happens that they inadvertently deviate from the ideal. Such an ideal can also be found on the title page, on which a pretty woman is depicted. Only the second glance reveals that the woman suffers from a physical impairment, as a result of which she no longer fulfills the expectations of "normality", which are symbolized here by the shadow. The constant attempt of society to adapt people with impairments to an idea of norms that at
Deviation from norm so-called, normal people ‘often tend to devalue those affected and also to marginalize them. Because such an impairment always depends on the definitions in the currently valid system of values and norms in society. They can take different forms depending on the time and culture. In this sense, the picture on the title page also has a different meaning for each person, because people are all shaped by different ideas and experiences.
Since the inclusion movement began in the 1990s and the various approaches such as empowerment and disability studies, the perception of people with disabilities has changed significantly, so that they are now considered to be part of society. Since the 1970s, integration in particular has helped to get those affected out of their niche and to adapt them to the norms of society. In a society in which, according to the Federal Statistical Office, approx. 7,615,560 people live with disabilities, of which 6,583,463 of those affected have acquired their impairments through a general illness (see DESTATIS 2015: Online) and in view of the increasing risk as a result In view of the higher life expectancy, to find yourself in such a situation, it is always necessary to look at how people with disabilities are doing in today's society.
Despite all the undisputed progress, not everything is going perfectly. There is still a lot to be improved. This is exactly where the question of this work begins by focusing on how people with disabilities are still stigmatized and discriminated today and which solutions could help in this. In addition, it will be discussed how social work can contribute to the objective improvement of the situation of disabled people and what challenges arise from it.
In order to approach these questions, above all a theoretical framework is required that takes more account of the individual aspects. The second chapter therefore deals with the different forms of impairment and shows how impairment is understood in medical, psychological, legal, educational, and social and cultural-scientific discourses and how these models differ from one another.
The third chapter examines the causes of discrimination against people with disabilities. First of all, stereotypes are presented and their use is discussed as categorizations. Then prejudices and their meaning are analyzed. Finally, social discrimination is discussed and the occurrence of these forms is discussed.
In addition, the fourth chapter deals with the concept of stigma coined by Erving Goffman and examines its meaning and sense and presents typologies. Then it outlines effects of stigma on those affected.
The following section (Chapter Five) connects the theoretical discussion with the minority group of people with disabilities and thus provides information about the impact of such stigmatization and discrimination processes in historical and current developments. It also discusses the causes of discrimination against these people and, based on the latest statistics, outlines patterns of discrimination to which people with disabilities are personally and institutionally exposed.
The sixth and penultimate chapter deals with models for combating discrimination and stigmatization of people with disabilities. First of all, this includes the legal options. Above all, the UN-CRPD and the legal development in Germany are presented here. Participation and inclusion are then critically assessed as possible advances in anti-discrimination and destigmatization. Finally, this chapter deals in more detail with the challenges for social work in this regard. How can it get involved in order to reduce or even prevent discrimination, and what must professionals pay attention to so that they do not fall into the trap of discrimination against their clients themselves? The last chapter answers the research question and sums up the considerations.
2. Perspectives on, disability ‘
With the attempt to find a universal term for all those affected, there is a risk that definitions and terms will go too far and become imprecise. In addition, the understanding and definition of the term are historically and culturally variable (cf. Dederich 2009: 15).
Here the term 'disability' is relatively new. It goes back to the Physically Disabled Persons Act passed by the Bundestag in 1957. Before that, the term 'cripple' prevailed, unable to withstand the increasing social pressure, especially from war victims, who rightly found the term unsuitable and discriminatory (cf. Hensle / Vernooij 2002: 8f.).
According to Schoenberg, a generally accepted definition of 'disability' cannot be found internationally either in science or in the legal field (Schoenberg 2013: 13, based on Altman 2001: 97 / Degener 2006: 1). It is not surprising that there are many approaches and concepts in the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology and pedagogy, among others, which attempt to describe 'disability' in its context and its different functions.
Since the understanding of 'disability' depends on the perspective and the historical context, this work will present several perspectives in order to give a first insight into the topic and the different views of 'disability' and the uncertainty that goes with it, which is also a breeding ground for stigma and discrimination.
2.1 Medical and psychological considerations
Until well into the last century, the medical approach was a common model that sought the problem of 'disability' in the individuals themselves. As a result, people with disabilities were assessed against medical standards. They were considered impaired when they were unable to fulfill certain functions from the medical point of view (Schoenberg 2013: 18, based on Hahn 1985: 88).
This view interprets 'disability' as a deficit of the individual who therefore needs certain support to cope with their everyday life (cf. Lindmeier / Lindmeier 2012: 16). Psychological considerations are also similar to this medical approach, which look for the problem with the affected person themselves. The Pschyrembel medical dictionary defines mental 'disability' as:
"Chronic impairment of participation in society due to a mental disorder (e.g. with regard to employment, coping with everyday life, social integration). It is legally equated with physical and mental disability (intellectual disability). "
(Maier / Pschyrembel 2017, online)
According to this definition, a mental disorder can become a mental impairment at any time. Gimbel and Schartmann object to this view that not every mental disorder must inevitably lead to mental impairment. A psychological 'handicap' only arises when a chronification of the suffering or its periodic course is recognizable. Mental impairment restricts the participation of those affected in society and in everyday life (see Landschaftsverband Rheinland 2015: 13f.).
In order to discuss the complex 'disability', it is necessary to differentiate between the forms of impairment that have arisen through the medical classification. This includes, for example, the most common types, such as physical, psychological and mental impairment. In view of the many different forms of 'disability', this elaboration focuses on the most well-known forms so as not to go beyond the scope:
Impairments that affect hearing are divided into deafness and hearing impairment. People with deafness cannot perceive acoustic events. In contrast, only the hearing organ is damaged in people with hearing loss. Here a hearing aid can help to increase the ability to perceive noises (cf. Biewer 2017: 53; Leonhardt 2016: 189f.).
The 'speech impairment' should be named as impairment of speech. It includes a disorder of language development, which means that speaking is only possible to a limited extent or a voice disorder occurs. Examples of 'speech impairment' can be stuttering, mutism, or fear of speaking. A key aspect in identifying a 'speech impediment' is its unique selling point, which is why it cannot be the result of another impairment (cf. Biewer 2017: 59; Von Knebel 2016: 186f.).
A well-known form of impairment is the 'learning disability'. Above all, the individual has difficulties in learning, which impair the ability to perform in a concentrated manner and also influence behavior. Besides the 'learning disability', the learning disorder is referred to as a temporary impairment. Sometimes the term 'learning difficulty' is intended to describe a deficit in one's own possibilities and goals (cf. Biewer 2017: 57f .; Wember / Heimlich 2016: 197ff).
In addition to the "learning disability", the mental impairment can often be identified as a secondary form that can be confused. Such an impairment can also be seen in the restricted ability to learn. However, a mental impairment is mainly characterized by the low intelligence quotient (<50/60), which can lead to linguistic and mental as well as emotional development deficits (cf. Biewer 2017: 55; Stinkes 2016: 218f.).
Visual impairments are divided into "visual impairment" and blindness. "Visually impaired" people can still perceive rudimentary visual information from the environment. People with blindness are no longer able to do this at all. They try to compensate for the missing ones with other senses. Organs of perception, the performance of which is then often improved, are, for example, the acoustic or the haptic sense (cf. Biewer 2017: 52; Walthes 2016: 201f.).
Disease impairments are commonly divided into mental disorders and somatic diseases. The former in particular are often difficult to recognize. These include mood disorders and personality disorders. Somatic diseases include information on heart and circulatory diseases (cf. Steins 2016: 210f.).
The "physical handicap", which affects the physical and motoric development, shows itself in a similar way. It is often associated with damage to the supporting and locomotor organs and can lead to considerable restrictions in everyday life, which is usually associated with a need for support (cf. Biewer 2017: 54;
Daut / Lelgemann / Walter-Klose 2016: 212ff.).
The last category mentioned here cannot be specified and is often referred to as complex or severe impairment. Those affected have high comorbidities: for example, a mental impairment that results in a psychological disorder or an impairment that can endanger the person or outsiders (cf. Fornefeld 2016: 222ff.).
Above all, sociological models criticize the medical-psychological approach that the cause of the impairment is sought in the individual. As a result, those affected are associated with the understanding of the role of a "sick person" and with the primary goal of recovery (Schoenberg 2013: 19, based on Mitra 2006: 237).
Such a recovery is difficult to achieve in the event of impairment as a result of previous illnesses, because these are usually permanent and often incurable. Even if the medical view has been outdated for years, its elements can still be found in many definitions (e.g. legislation) (Schoenberg 2013: 19, based on Mitra 2006: 237).
Schoenberg suspects that because of the easy medical classification based on the classification system of the "international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision" (ICD-10), it is easier to record health problems in the medical sense, because here only the medical psychological damage are considered. Above all, the specific definition of medical problems offers a good chance for uniform operationalization. Such aspects are most likely responsible for the fact that the medical approach has been used for so long. He does rule out other factors by only looking at the problem with the individual. On the other hand, it is also not advisable to throw it completely overboard, especially because medical care is advisable for good support even without a chance of recovery (cf. Schoenberg 2013: 20).
The ICD-10 already mentioned in the last section serves to classify health problems and supplements the newly introduced "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health" (ICF), which deals with functioning and 'disability' (cf. Lindmeier / Lindmeier 2012: 25f.).
Through the many approaches that have been discussed in recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also changed its perspective on 'disability'. In 2001, the "International Classification of Injury, Ability Disorders and Impairments" (ICIDH), which had been in force until then, was replaced by the "International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health" (ICF). In view of the high density of disease and impairment forms and the resulting increasing complexity, the ICF was divided into two parts for better recording. While the first part deals with functionality and 'disability', the second part focuses on context factors (cf. Lindmeier / Lindmeier 2012: 28).
Figure 1 The bio-psycho-social model of the ICF
Figure not included in this excerpt
Source: German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information (2005: 23)
As Figure 1 illustrates, functionality is made up of three levels: First of all, the biological level of the body, which affects its function and structure. The psychological level of activity and the social level of participation consider the individual as an individual and as a social being in terms of functionality. Context factors are elements of the environment and society with effects on the individual (cf. ibid .: 22). Personal factors include ethnicity, gender or upbringing (cf. ibid .: 16ff.).
As a result of the new interpretations by the ICF, the understanding of 'disability' at the World Health Organization has also changed:
"A handicap is therefore present when damage to or deviations from anatomical, psychological or physiological body structures and functions of a person interact with barriers in their spatial and social environment in such a way that equal participation in society is not possible." (Engels / Engel / Schmitz 2016: 15).
The ICF's definition suggests that 'disability' is no longer considered an abnormal or health deficit.Rather, the inclusion of available resources should promote the participation of a person affected by the 'disability' with their social and material environment. Accordingly, the current participation report focuses on the successful participation of those affected (cf. ibid.).
This new idea of participation brings the social aspect more to the fore. Lindmeier and Lindmeier clearly show that with this new approach, the 'disability' is no longer described as a condition of the person, but rather as an action situation in which those affected exist (cf. Lindmeier / Lindmeier 2012: 28).
The expansion of the medical to a bio-psycho-social model should help to better take into account the living conditions of those affected and at the same time offer positive opportunities for successful and self-determined participation in society (cf. DIMDI 2005: 24f.).
2.3 Legal considerations
One of the first attempts at a better formulation of the "disability" was the 1994 constitution prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities in the Basic Law. In the federal German legislation, the ninth Social Code (SGB IX) deals with this, the subtitle of which is “Rehabilitation and participation of disabled people” (cf. Welti 2005: 58).
An attempt was made to formulate 'disability' in a legally appropriate manner by including the new ICF. Section 2 (1) SGB IX defines 'disability', similar to Section 3 of the Act on Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities (BGG), as follows:
“People are disabled if their physical function, mental ability or mental health has a high probability of deviating from the state typical of their age for more than six months and therefore their participation in life in society is impaired. You are at risk of disability if the impairment is to be expected. "
This statement is supplemented by Section 2, Paragraph 2 of Book IX of the Social Code, which deals with the severity of the impairment and regulates the participation of severely disabled people. At the same time, the paragraph also provides a guideline for differentiating between "disability" and "severe disability". People with a degree of "disability" (GdB) of at least 50 percent are considered to be "severely disabled". In addition, less than 50 percent but more than 30 percent of those affected are on an equal footing with the severely disabled.
SGB IX created a different perspective, because now those affected are no longer referred to as "disabled", but as "disabled people". Through this reformulation, those affected are assigned the essential belonging to the group of people and their impairment is only seen as a characteristic or a description of the situation. It is no longer a main factor that defines personality (cf. Welti 2005: 58f.)
2.4 Pedagogical view
The pedagogical perspective is generally difficult to grasp, as many areas have developed from general pedagogy over the course of time. Two variants are presented here:
As a first variant, the view is presented in dialectical-materialistic pedagogy (cf. Moser / Sasse 2008: 66ff.). Above all, Jantzen supplemented the dialectical materialistic pedagogy with the multidimensional view. He defines 'disability' as follows:
“Disability is a process of social impairment of the life possibilities of human individuals, which, on the basis of a lack of mediation processes between the individual and society, is realized as an impairment of the personality”. (Jantzen 1990: 380, quoted in Moser / Sasse 2008: 67)
Here, 'disability' is neither an individual characteristic, as in the medical approach, nor one of the environment, but rather is understood as a result of the exchange of relationships (Moser & Sasse 2008: 67, based on Jantzen 2002: 322). Considerations that refer to Jantzen have in common that they speak of 'social isolation' that endangers one's own self and interaction with the world. It is therefore part of the educational task to improve the mediation process and support its implementation (ibid .: 22, based on Jantzen 1996: 22).
The second variant is the pedagogical integration approach. Here, as in the dialectical-materialistic approach, a 'handicap' is not understood as an individual deficit. Rather, it is a human form of existence that has the right not to be singled out. Above all, the selection of children and young people in educational institutions is criticized. This creates the demand not only to teach 'non-handicapped' and 'handicapped' children together, but to create a school that concentrates on everyone and takes every individual strength and weakness into account (ibid .: 104, based on to Deppe-Wolfinger 1997).
In this sense, 'disability' is an enrichment of diversity that is worth protecting and does not have to be adapted to the 'normal' society. The integrative school is intended to ensure that there is no competition, but rather that the children support and help one another (ibid .: 106, based on Deppe-Wolfinger 1997). Deppe-Wolfinger criticizes the current education system. The common teaching is an extension, but not a real 'school for everyone' (ibid .: 110, based on Deppe-Wolfinger 2004: 245).
2.5 Consideration from the social and cultural sciences
While the medical model has no longer proven to be up-to-date and has received much criticism, the social approach to explaining 'disability' has found increasing approval. According to Hermes and Rohrmann, he assumes that the problem is more caused by society. Examples of this are the limited access to social participation and the still prevailing massive prejudice against people with disabilities. With the help of the social model, social barriers to participation are to be recognized and removed (Hermes 2006: 18ff., Based on Oliver 1996: 33; Priestley 2003: 26ff.).
The basis of the social model is a strict distinction between biological factors, which are mainly deficit-oriented, and socio-cultural factors. Such a separation is criticized today due to the lack of consideration of the biological aspects of the body (cf. Köbsell 2012: 40).
Nevertheless, this separation also brought positive results in that it helped to trigger a change of perspective in those affected. Now people with disabilities no longer interpreted their 'disability' as a naturally given individual problem, but saw it from a sociological point of view (cf. ibid.). On the basis of this social model, Disability Studies developed as an interdisciplinary approach. Waldschmidt explains how the disability studies interpret the 'handicap':
“Disability is not understood as a (natural) given, in the sense of a supposedly objective, medical-biological definable damage or impairment, but as a historical, cultural and social differentiator. "(Waldschmidt 2007a: 163)
"Disability" is no longer considered a naturally given fate, but is only constituted by everyday and scientific discourse, bureaucratic procedures and subjective viewpoints (cf. ibid.). The interdisciplinary approach of disability studies integrates different models and views, so the question is what exactly disability studies are. For this purpose, Hermes formulated principles to summarize the disability studies and make them easier to understand:
These principles include the understanding of 'disability' on the basis of the social approach, which interprets impairments more as 'socially conferred status' and no more as an individual property set in stone (Hermes 2006: 21, based on Gill 1998, translation GH). In addition, disability studies do not interpret the individual as their subject, but rather the 'phenomenon of disability' and thus the study of impairments (ibid., Based on Waldschmidt 2004).
Hermes emphasizes that Disability Studies see themselves as partisan and want to be seen that way, especially because they see people with disabilities as a minority, but less with the intention of eliminating or avoiding an impairment. Instead, disability studies examine the social conditions that contribute to the fact that those affected are discriminated against and stigmatized. They aim to change social, cultural and political behavior that excludes people with disabilities (Hermes 2006: 22, based on Gill 1998, translation by G.H.).
At the same time, disability studies see themselves as 'cross-disability' and therefore not limited to a specific type of impairment, such as physical impairment, but rather explore all forms of impairment (cf. ibid.). This means that disability studies are interdisciplinary. The construction of the impairment is viewed not only from a single subject, but from several perspectives. The fields of study include sociology, history, literature and cultural studies (ibid., Based on Degener 2003). In addition, the Disability Studies not only analyze the process of discrimination against people with disabilities, but also endeavor through the research process to focus on the entire group of those affected. Through such projects, they actively involve people with disabilities in their research process, so that they no longer become objects, but subjects of research (ibid .: 23, based on Gill 1998, translation by G.H.).
Waldschmidt objects to the social and medical models that they combine their focus on seeing 'disability' as a problem that needs to be eliminated instead of understanding it as a process of cultural attribution. She advocates integrating a cultural model into consideration (ibid .: 24, based on Waldschmidt 2004).
A 'cultural model' in the strict sense has not yet been established, but in recent years some cultural studies have drawn attention to it. This aspect is understood to mean the cultural network, which is composed, for example, of morality, customs, belief, knowledge as well as the norms and values of society (cf. Waldschmidt 2006: 90f.).
The cultural-scientific consideration of 'disability' shows that its meaning has changed again and again in the context of historical and cultural-anthropological comparison. In the course of history, many different perspectives and manners towards people with disabilities have emerged, which were stronger or weaker depending on the epoch (cf. ibid.).
Above all, the cultural studies approach changed the researchers' point of view. By no longer looking at the world of people with disabilities from the point of view of the "normal", but rather the majority society from the point of view of those affected, new perspectives and approaches could be developed. This means that the world can be understood completely differently. For example, social practices of inclusion and exclusion as well as of "normality" and deviations can be analyzed (cf. Waldschmidt 2006: 92f.).
In this way, Waldschmidt clarifies new steps on how to understand impairment or non-impairment by focusing on and questioning "normality". At the same time, the cultural model emphasizes that society should not view people with disabilities as a minority to be integrated, but as an already existing important part of society. From this point of view, Waldschmidt criticizes the integrative adaptation of minorities to homogeneous groups (cf. ibid.).
With regard to the various models used by Disability Studies, there is also international discussion about which approaches and approaches are really integral to Disability Studies and which do not (cf. Hermes 2006: 21).
3. Stereotypes, prejudices and social discrimination
Prejudices, stereotypes and social discrimination accompany people in their everyday life. They take place every day directly in the social environment or are conveyed to people via media such as news, films or social media pages. This omnipresence of stereotypes and prejudices makes it difficult to avoid them, especially since under such conditions they are already fixed in the memory in childhood. The terms “prejudice” and “stereotype” usually have negative connotations in common parlance. However, they also have a positive function. Because it has a decisive influence on the social interaction between people (cf. Petersen / Six 2008: 17).
3.1 Social categorization and stereotyping
Social categorizations, used to describe a crowd that are often considered a group due to their social interaction, are the foundation for stereotyping. Such characteristics can be, for example, skin color or gender. On the other hand, common interests such as belonging to a religion or a party can also contribute to people being categorized (cf. Klauer 2008: 23).
In such a view, people quickly find themselves in one or the other group. As a result, people can very quickly assign themselves to ingroups and differentiate outgroups from them. Since all categories can also be subdivided into sub-categories, the difficulty can arise that it becomes impossible for individuals to belong to any social category at all. In addition, each social category has its own specific rules, and each group has certain internal and external expectations of its members, such as that people join the same ideology or that homosexuals are expected to have a feminine streak from outside (cf. . Werth / Mayer 2008: 403).
The last point in particular clarifies the typical representation of a stereotype that is triggered by information processing processes. Information processing can take place automatically or in a controlled manner, but most stereotypes have arisen automatically from culturally shaped knowledge, so that people consciously or unconsciously project certain positive or negative characteristics onto people or place expectations of them that influence social experience and their own behavior (cf. Schmid Mast / Krings 2008: 33f.). This division, colloquially referred to as “pigeonhole thinking”, is part of social interaction and provides people with orientation (cf. Klauer 2008: 23).
But why do people categorize each other? The cognitive reason for the categorization is the increasing complexity of the environment. The world is developing faster and faster, so the demands on individual people to understand it are growing. If individuals lack certain skills, they cannot fully meet these requirements (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 403). Then the categorization helps them process the information more easily. In this way, people can be divided into groups in order to predict the behavior of those belonging to those groups without knowing a single person. Such processes can be observed every day when people meet one another. A categorization process is triggered for many and they classify other people according to skin color, age or ethnicity (ibid .: 403f., Based on Bargh 1994; Brewer 1988; Fiske / Neuberg 1990; Hamilton / Sherman 1994).
The motivation for categorization also arises from the feeling of belonging to the ingroup and the associated increase in one's own identity. Apart from the tendency to belong to one's own group or to stay away from this group if one's own identity is at risk, people always tend to present their own group better (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 405).
Social categorization and personal prejudices generate two relevant effects: the standardization of outgroups, also known as the outgroup homogeneity effect ‘. That is the tendency to consider members of outgroups more homogeneously and the individuals of their own groups more differentiated. In addition, the ingroup is preferred or upgraded, which leads to what is known as ingroup upgrading ‘. Both effects contribute to the emergence and accentuation of prejudices and discrimination (ibid .: 406, based on
Brigham / Malpass 1985; Jones et al. 1981; Park / Rothbart 1982; Wilder 1984).
3.2 Causes and forms of prejudice
All people have prejudices, in everyday life sometimes trivialized as "clichés", such as the stubborn prejudice that women cannot park. Even if all people know that this is not the truth, it is difficult for them to let go of this thinking. A prejudice is “an attitude towards members of an outgroup based solely on their group membership” (Werth / Mayer 2008: 379).
Werth and Mayer name three main components of prejudice:
- The stereotype as a cognitive component
As already described in subsection 3.1, stereotyping involves cognitive development of the categorization of groups and thus an attribution of properties and characteristics.The individual characteristics of the individual members of the group are not considered at all, but identical character characteristics are projected onto the entire group (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 379).
Cloerkes adds that this is particularly evident in the beliefs, values and judgment of a person who looks at a prejudiced person or a group (cf. Cloerkes 2007: 104). At the same time, it should not be forgotten that a prejudice needs a stereotype as a foundation, but a stereotype itself is not a prejudice (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 379).
- Acceptance of stereotypes as an affective component
Stereotype acceptance is also known as the 'feeling component' and encompasses the intensity of the emotions associated with an attitude. Subjective attitudes can be influenced by positive and negative feelings (cf. Cloerkes 2007: 104). Therefore, the acceptance of a stereotype is a necessary prerequisite for a prejudice to really develop (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 379).
- Discrimination as a component of action
The last component is conative or action-related discrimination, which describes the intention or willingness to behave in a defamatory manner towards a group or a person (cf. Cloerkes 2007: 104). Mere thinking, i.e. prejudice, now becomes an unjustified negative or even destructive act towards people because of their belonging to a group (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 380).
Prejudices arise because people form groups through social categorizations. This simplifies the transfer of information and supports the development of social identity, but it also leads to competition between one's own group and the outgroups (cf. ibid .: 403).
Prejudices are not all negative, they also have useful properties: people can assume similar facts in a larger group. This makes it easier to deal with strangers, so that situations do not require analysis, but rather the person can rely on a prejudice, which means an opportunity to save capacities and possibly a significant difference under time pressure. Prejudices facilitate information processing, decision-making and orientation in everyday life (Werth / Mayer 2008: 378, based on Bodenhausen / Lichtenstein 1987; Stangor / Duan 1991).
Such positive traits, however, pale in comparison to the extreme consequences of negative prejudice. The negative characteristics often lead to discrimination against minorities or, as history shows, to persecution, murder or even genocide, such as the persecution of Jews under National Socialism or the witch trials in the early modern period (cf.Werth / Mayer 2008: 378).
Why can prejudices persist over several generations? Another reason why they are so persistent is that the factors in their formation help them keep coming back. Other causes include connections that do not correspond to reality at all and only arise from expectations (illusory correlation) and their legitimacy towards others in the attempt to explain the behavior of one's own group or an outgroup or to relate it to the present (attributional distortions) (see ibid .: 419).
If a person does not correspond to the prevailing prejudice, which is based on a stereotype, the process of re-categorization (subtyping) often ensures that people do not remove the prejudice, but assign the person to a new category. Thanks to such recategorizations, people maintain or even consolidate existing prejudices. Deviating prejudices can then be confirmed, although they contradict actual experience (ibid .: 422, based on Kunda / Oleson 1995; Richards / Hewstone 2001).
Two other factors also contribute to confirming the prejudices: On the one hand, the victim can unconsciously or consciously behave according to the expectations and thus reinforce the prejudices (self-fulfilling prophecy) or do so out of fear of conforming to a stereotype (stereotype threat) what exactly leads to the expected behavior. An example can be cited in an exam situation in which the person actually does worse because of the prevailing stereotype that the person is not good at mathematics because they put themselves under stress (cf.Werth / Mayer 2008: 419f.).
In view of the negative effects and the persistence of prejudices, science has dealt intensively with them in recent years (cf. Werth / Mayer 2008: 378f.). The research showed that prejudices take various forms. The most widespread are racist, sexist, age and physical prejudices. In particular, minorities with outwardly conspicuous features are more exposed to prejudice than other strata of the population because they are more tangibly available for a prejudice (ibid .: 381, based on Allport 1954).
3.3 Social Discrimination
Gordon W. Allport defines social discrimination, outlined as a behavioral component, as follows:
“Discrimination occurs when individuals or groups of people are deprived of the equality of treatment they desire. Discrimination encompasses all behavior based on differences of a social or natural nature that are unrelated to individual skills or merit, nor to the actual behavior of the individual person. "
(Allport 1954, quoted in Petersen / Six 2008: 161)
This description shows that discrimination is based on social categories, in addition to the prejudices that play a role as an emotional component. Discrimination as a behavioral component causes negative actions towards others, such as avoiding a homosexual, abusing him or accusing him of having been sexually offensive to him or her. According to Petersen and Six, new approaches also take into account the preference of the ingroup and the rejection of the outgroup, while other approaches only interpret discrimination as non-conforming behavior towards norms and values (cf. Petersen / Six 2008: 161).
Even if social discrimination actually contradicts the value system that is based on equal opportunities, social fairness and solidarity, there is hardly any awareness in everyday life among the German population that discrimination is a real problem (Hormel / Scherr 2010: 7f., Based on Sinus Sociovision 2008: 5).
Scientific investigations into the causes of social discrimination have produced many theoretical approaches and guidelines (cf. Petersen / Six 2008: 161). A distinguishing feature that illustrates discrimination is usually the sheer diversity of people. This can be the sound of the voice, the style of clothing or the color of the hair (Weisser 2010: 308, based on Kreckel 2004: 15).
Although there are many differentiating features, not all of them gain importance in the social context, but mostly only features that offer a chance to implement something realistically (Weisser 2010: 308, based on Kreckel 2004: 15).
Unfortunately, few studies examine the subtypes of social discrimination. Feagin and Eckberg began to research the sub-forms in 1980 and distinguished three levels: "isolated discrimination ^ discrimination by groups" and "institutional discrimination" (Petersen / Six 2008: 161).
Condescending and negative behavior patterns of individuals towards other individuals are regarded as isolated discrimination. The reason for this can be participation in an outgroup or in a social category. An example can be the rejection of an application by the HR manager because it is a woman. It is also an important aspect that no institutional side is involved. Discrimination in groups occurs under similar conditions. Essentially, the only difference here is the number of participants. Institutional discrimination is the behavior of institutions or organizations that intensifies and maintains disadvantage (cf. ibid.).
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