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The Social Psychology of Minorities

1 December 1978

Why do some groups feel superior to others? Why is it that all too often the ‘inferior’ group accepts the evaluation of their status by the ‘superior’ group? What happens when an ‘inferior’ group decides to challenge the ‘superior’ group, and how do they go about it? Can a minority group seek to achieve equal treatment from the majority society but also retain their separate identity?

The Social Psychology of Minorities seeks to answer these important questions which are of vital relevance to understanding the social realities of people’s lives and particularly to the mechanics of prejudice and discrimination. Written by Henri Tajfel, former Professor of Social Psychology at Bristol University, this succinct analysis discusses such concepts as the internal and external criteria of a minority group, the effects of social change, and the process and patterns of rejection and acceptance.

An important report on a subject which helps to shape the relationship between minority groups and the majority society, The Social Psychology of Minorities will be especially useful to those concerned with social science, education and the achievement of good community relations.

Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.

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Henri Tajfel