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Social Dominance: An Intergroup Theory of Social Hierarchy and Oppression Paperback – February 12, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0521805407 ISBN-10: 0521805406 Edition: 1st

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Social Dominance: An Intergroup Theory of Social Hierarchy and Oppression + Representing Red and Blue: How the Culture Wars Change the Way Citizens Speak and Politicians Listen (Series in Political Psychology) + Who Counts as an American?: The Boundaries of National Identity
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (February 12, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521805406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521805407
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,087,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"In a time of molecular theories in social psychology, it is inspiring to see a theory of such scope, depth and ambition--a harkening back to the traditions of Weber, Marx, and Durkheim. And like those theories, this one generates insight after insight, offering us the most comprehensibe, satisfying description of power relations that we currently have in the literature. This work has evolved impressively over the years and now occupies a singular position that, I believe, sets a major direction for our field to take." Claude Steele, Stanford University

"A cross-cultural, thorough, and scholarly analysis of the social psychology of power, this book is the most complete statement of the conceptual framework of Sidanius and Pratto's social dominance theory....finely documented, well-researched, timely, and tightly argued study....Recommended for all libraries supporting psychology and sociology programs." Choice

"Something genuinely novel in modern-day social psychology: a comprehensive theory that transcends disciplinary boundaries and levels of analysis...Social Dominance will provoke strong reactions in many, if not most, readers." European Bulletin of Social Psychology

"The authors lead us to question the assumption that discrimination and oppression have been overcome in our own recent history, or that they are manifested only by unenlightened individuals or countries. They provide a lucid, provocative account of the extent to which social dominance and discrimination transcend time and place. A compelling, well-documented account of group dominance processes--how they work, how they are manifested, and why they are so resistant to change. The authors provide evidence to show that group discrimination continues to be omni-present in all aspects of social life, e.g., the workplace, educational institutions, the judicial system, and health care systems. Social Dominance should be 'must' reading for social psychology courses. It takes our thinking of group processes in important, new directions." Daphne Bugental, University of California, Santa Barbara

"This volume by Sidanius and Pratto is a major scholarly accomplishment. Both conceptually and empirically, the book is a synthesis of cross-national,institutional, and individual levels of analysis. Although some of the premises of their social dominance theory will be controversial, the empirical data the authors have compiled are impressive and compelling. This work places the study of intergroup discrimination in a broader context than anything before has done." Marilynn Brewer, The Ohio State University

"Social Dominance is a work of potentially foundational importance for the study of intergroup attitudes, prejudice, racism, and discrimination. Sidanius and Pratto shed new light on the ubiquitous phenomena of group-based social hierarchy and the social psychological and institutional mechanisms that maintain it....There is a great deal of value here for any serious student of social inequality." Lawrence Bobo, Department of Sociology, Harvard University

"Social Dominance represents the most demanding kind of scholarship, and Sidanius and Pratto engage in it with more skill and produce more impressive results than almost anybody. I think that it is an exceptional bit of scholarship." John Petrocik, Department of Political Science, University of Missouri, Columbia

"An original and provocative study of the nature and causes of human oppression. Sidanius and Pratto have refined and pursued the concept of Social Dominance Orientation with analyses that are broad-reaching and carefully crafted. Essential reading for students of racial, ethnic, and gender inequality." Mary R. Jackman, Department of Sociology, University of California, Davis

"Sidanius and Pratto shed new light on the ubiquitous phenomena of group-based social hierarchy and social psychological and institutional mechanisms that maintain it." Lawrence D. Bobo, American Journal Of Sociology

Book Description

This book suggests that the major forms in intergroup conflict, such as racism, classism and patriarchy , are essentially derived from the human predisposition to form and maintain hierarchical and group-based systems of social organization. Using social dominance theory, it is presumed that it is also a basic grammar of social power shared by all societies in common. We use social dominance theory in an attempt to identify the elements of this grammar and to understand how these elements interact and reinforce each other to produce and maintain group-based social hierarchy.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Historied on July 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
I read about 100 books a year. This is almost certainly the book that changed my perspectives, on a variety of subjects, the most in the last year. Firstly it is extremely well written and its drawing on various theoretical models and use of statistical data seems exemplary. Secondly, its approach really made me think hard (which is why we read, isn't it?)about how I see the world and how that shapes my views of reality. I have worked as an executive in the corporate sector for 35 years and felt how powerfully this approach could be used there. The chronic lack of real talent to solve real issues of the business and environment, is very much compounded by issues of dominance and restriction of the search for talent and the education of talent to elite groups who are often clueless about the world. And this book provides a critical thinking 101 approach quite independent of its content.The growing hereditary nature of management succession (think President of the USA)is part of social dominance. The socially dominant send their kids to the best schools and these seem to be structured to restrict critical thinking or divert it into postmodernist irrelevance. This book helps you see such apparently unconnected phenomena in new ways. And it might direct students towards structurally relevant issues of society rather than the marginal. While this book is an obvious resource for the oppressed, I heartily recommend it to members of socially dominant power groups like myself. If you want to understand the abuses that social dominance relationships cause and also begin to think of ways to solve our civilization's real problems by attenuating social hierarchy, this is a good place to begin.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book about 5 years ago, read it then and just re-read it. For those who aren't sure if they want to buy the book, I'd recommend searching for a PowerPoint presentation on the book created by Dr. Brian Paciotti - do a search on that name to find his website. Then, click on "Teaching" and "Interethnic Contacts" - the PowerPoint presentation is Lectures 9 & 10. Dr. Paciotti has admirably summed up the arguments in the book and reading through his presentation will give you an idea of whether or not you want to buy the book. I found the book's thesis to be sound because the core of the argument is that in all human societies which generate an economic surplus (this leaves out hunter-gatherer societies), there are three characteristics: discrimination based on age, gender and what Sidanius and Pratto call "abstract-set" discrimination. Abstract sets are every other form of discrimination that the human mind can come up with except age and gender discrimination and we all know there are hundreds of varieties of these kinds of discrimination. The authors' theories are influenced by Marxism and sociobiology, among other ideas, which I find quite interesting. What I also find interesting is that since the book was published, it appears that Jim Sidanius has not pursued any further research into the theory. The other author, Felicia Pratto, has, but accessing her work is next to impossible, unless you are an academic and have ready access to an academic library. This is because she has apparently not written a book on the theory yet - she has, instead, written quite a number of articles for scholarly journals which are unfortunately behind paywalls.Read more ›
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By M. John on January 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this book to see how dominance appears to be inevitable and dominates every culture. Delve further to see how hierarchies permeate the fabric of US history- gender, race and social inequalities and the ways in which people legitimize these disparities. Well written, well theorized, great review of other theories, and well worth owning.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book challenged the way I thought about human beings and social dominance. The author's theory is controversial but well argued and documented. I definitely recommend it.
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