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Historical Overview
Historical overview

The concepts of prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination emerged early in the twentieth century and soon became central social issues of the times. Over the next century the way in which these concepts were explained theoretically, the dominant research approaches, and their implications for social policy, underwent systematic historical changes. These can be seen as successive paradigms organizing understanding and inquiry. It is suggested that these paradigmatic transitions did not just represent a systematic evolution of knowledge, but were responses to specific social and historical circumstances. These circumstances made particular questions about the nature and causation of prejudice salient for social scientists, and the paradigms that emerged in response constituted their attempts to answer these questions. These salient questions therefore determined the kinds ...

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