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Originally a stereotype was an object used in printing, where it referred to ‘text cast in rigid form for the purposes of repetitive use’ (Pickering, 2001: 9). An aspect of this original meaning is retained in its contemporary usage, defined by Allport (1954: 191) as ‘an exaggerated belief associated with a category. Its function is to justify (rationalise) our conduct in relation to that category’ A number of theoretically important features of stereotypes are mentioned in this influential definition. First, stereotypes are exaggerated beliefs, involving either an inflation of a characteristic (e.g. the fetishization of Black physicality) and/or an over-generalization from part (a Black male criminal) to whole (Black male criminality). Second, the idea that stereotypes are an exaggeration implies that they contain a ...

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