Theorizing Gender in the Face of Social Change: Is There Anything Essential About Essentialism?

Morton, Thomas A., Postmes, Tom, Haslam, S. Alexander and Hornsey, Matthew J. (2009) Theorizing Gender in the Face of Social Change: Is There Anything Essential About Essentialism?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96 3: 653-664. doi:10.1037/a0012966


Author Morton, Thomas A.
Postmes, Tom
Haslam, S. Alexander
Hornsey, Matthew J.
Title Theorizing Gender in the Face of Social Change: Is There Anything Essential About Essentialism?
Journal name Journal of Personality and Social Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-3514
Publication date 2009-03
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0012966
Volume 96
Issue 3
Start page 653
End page 664
Total pages 12
Place of publication United States
Publisher American Psychological Assocation
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
1701 Psychology
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Abstract The authors examine how beliefs about the stability of the social hierarchy moderate the link between sexism and essentialist beliefs about gender and how the expression of essentialist beliefs might reciprocally affect the social structure. Studies 1 (N = 240) and 2 (N = 143) presented gender-based inequality as stable, changing, or changed. In both studies, sexism was positively associated with essentialism only among men and only when inequality was presented as changing. Study 3 (N = 552) explored the possible consequences of expressing essentialist theories for social change. Exposure to essentialist theories increased both men's and women's acceptance of inequality. Exposure further increased men's support for discriminatory practices and boosted their self-esteem. These patterns demonstrate that although essentialism is linked to prejudice, this link is itself not essential. Rather, essentialism may be invoked strategically to protect higher status when this is threatened by change and may be successful in so doing.
Keyword essentialism
sexism
social stability
social change
discrimination
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
Versions
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 47 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 55 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 08:35:32 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of School of Psychology