Making Sense of Misfortune

Cultural Schemas, Victim Redefinition, and the Perpetuation of Stereotypes

Mary Beth Hunzaker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    One of the most striking features of stereotypes is their extreme durability. This study focuses on the role played by cultural schemas and perceptions of low-status others' adversities in stereotype perpetuation. Social psychological theories of legitimacy and justice point to the role of stereotypes as one means through which individuals make sense of others' undeserved misfortunes by redefining the victim. This study connects this work with insights from cognitive cultural sociology to propose that stereotypes act as cultural schemas used to justify others' experiences of adversity. Consistent with this hypothesis, findings from a cultural transmission experiment show that participants include more negative stereotype-consistent content when retelling narratives with undeserved negative outcomes than with positive outcomes. Cognitive cultural sociology and the cultural transmission methodology offer tools for understanding victim redefinition processes, with important implications for the reproduction of stereotype bias and social inequalities.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)166-184
    Number of pages19
    JournalSocial Psychology Quarterly
    Volume77
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2014

    Fingerprint

    Sociology
    Psychological Theory
    Illegitimacy
    Social Justice
    Reproduction
    Social Theory

    Keywords

    • cultural schemas
    • cultural transmission
    • stereotypes

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Social Psychology

    Cite this

    Making Sense of Misfortune : Cultural Schemas, Victim Redefinition, and the Perpetuation of Stereotypes. / Hunzaker, Mary Beth.

    In: Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 77, No. 2, 2014, p. 166-184.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    @article{5085010272aa4e87af35862b724f77db,
    title = "Making Sense of Misfortune: Cultural Schemas, Victim Redefinition, and the Perpetuation of Stereotypes",
    abstract = "One of the most striking features of stereotypes is their extreme durability. This study focuses on the role played by cultural schemas and perceptions of low-status others' adversities in stereotype perpetuation. Social psychological theories of legitimacy and justice point to the role of stereotypes as one means through which individuals make sense of others' undeserved misfortunes by redefining the victim. This study connects this work with insights from cognitive cultural sociology to propose that stereotypes act as cultural schemas used to justify others' experiences of adversity. Consistent with this hypothesis, findings from a cultural transmission experiment show that participants include more negative stereotype-consistent content when retelling narratives with undeserved negative outcomes than with positive outcomes. Cognitive cultural sociology and the cultural transmission methodology offer tools for understanding victim redefinition processes, with important implications for the reproduction of stereotype bias and social inequalities.",
    keywords = "cultural schemas, cultural transmission, stereotypes",
    author = "Hunzaker, {Mary Beth}",
    year = "2014",
    doi = "10.1177/0190272514521219",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "77",
    pages = "166--184",
    journal = "Social Psychology Quarterly",
    issn = "0190-2725",
    publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
    number = "2",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Making Sense of Misfortune

    T2 - Cultural Schemas, Victim Redefinition, and the Perpetuation of Stereotypes

    AU - Hunzaker, Mary Beth

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - One of the most striking features of stereotypes is their extreme durability. This study focuses on the role played by cultural schemas and perceptions of low-status others' adversities in stereotype perpetuation. Social psychological theories of legitimacy and justice point to the role of stereotypes as one means through which individuals make sense of others' undeserved misfortunes by redefining the victim. This study connects this work with insights from cognitive cultural sociology to propose that stereotypes act as cultural schemas used to justify others' experiences of adversity. Consistent with this hypothesis, findings from a cultural transmission experiment show that participants include more negative stereotype-consistent content when retelling narratives with undeserved negative outcomes than with positive outcomes. Cognitive cultural sociology and the cultural transmission methodology offer tools for understanding victim redefinition processes, with important implications for the reproduction of stereotype bias and social inequalities.

    AB - One of the most striking features of stereotypes is their extreme durability. This study focuses on the role played by cultural schemas and perceptions of low-status others' adversities in stereotype perpetuation. Social psychological theories of legitimacy and justice point to the role of stereotypes as one means through which individuals make sense of others' undeserved misfortunes by redefining the victim. This study connects this work with insights from cognitive cultural sociology to propose that stereotypes act as cultural schemas used to justify others' experiences of adversity. Consistent with this hypothesis, findings from a cultural transmission experiment show that participants include more negative stereotype-consistent content when retelling narratives with undeserved negative outcomes than with positive outcomes. Cognitive cultural sociology and the cultural transmission methodology offer tools for understanding victim redefinition processes, with important implications for the reproduction of stereotype bias and social inequalities.

    KW - cultural schemas

    KW - cultural transmission

    KW - stereotypes

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84901604763&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84901604763&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1177/0190272514521219

    DO - 10.1177/0190272514521219

    M3 - Article

    VL - 77

    SP - 166

    EP - 184

    JO - Social Psychology Quarterly

    JF - Social Psychology Quarterly

    SN - 0190-2725

    IS - 2

    ER -