Article

The self in prejudice

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 25, issue 5, 2015 , pages: 461–469
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2015.1101277
Author(s): Zelda G. KnightDepartment of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities, South Africa

Abstract

The self as a psychological construct, and the self in relation to the other has been discussed in psychological and sociological literature for decades, but not much attention has been given to the psychological development of the self in relation to the social construction of prejudice. The primary aim of this article is to explore the self in prejudice and thus the psychological processes involved in the development of self within the social context. Consequently, the aim is to explore the self in the construction and expression of prejudice from both a social and psychological approach, and to explain selfhood influences at the individual, group and community levels. I use the conceptual framework of Kohut's self psychology as a lens to present the development of the self and thus the idea of the development of the self in relation to the other. In such exploration of self in prejudice, I present some of my ideas which include prejudice as an outcome of self-definition in the context of the other, as well as linking self in prejudice and group dynamics to attachment theory and the notion of “selfgroup’ in terms of overidentification with the in-group. While the social and the psychological in terms of the development of the self cannot be separated, I have therefore attempted to merge at some point the two bodies of thought in relation to the self in prejudice.

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