The term stereotype was first used in the printing industry, where it referred to a cast iron plate used to make repeated impressions of the same image. This sense of an impression that is enduring, fixed, and resistant to change was imported into the social sciences by the journalist Walter Lippmann in his book Public Opinion. This applied the term to refer to the “pictures in the head” that people have of social groups.

A stereotype is an image or representation of a group of people that is widely known and shared within a particular community or group. However, in addition to this, within social research (as in society more generally), stereotypes are typically understood to have a number of negative features, many of which were ...

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