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Lecture 7

PSYC 363 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Class Discrimination, Economic Inequality, Materialism


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 363
Professor
Scott Neufeld
Lecture
7

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PSYC 363 WK 7 Classism & Drug
Classism
- Beliefs, attitudes, practices, and structures that create and maintain privileges for
certain economic classes and disadvantages for other economic classes
Materialism
- Highly valuing money undermines happiness
- Just thinking about money weakens social connections
Corporate Dominance
- Of the world’s 100 largest economic entities, 51 are corporations & 49 are
countries
- Influence on mass media, governmance
Capitalism
Economic inequality

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- Left - CA; right - USA
- Health and social problems
are worse in more unequal
countries
- A social identity approach to economic inequality (Jetten)
- Jetten and her co-authors use the SIA to make 5 key predictions about how
economic inequality will shape intergroup relations
1. Comparative fit: increased inequality makes wealth a more “fitting” category
to understand the social world
2. Social categorization: increased inequality makes “us” vs “them” differences
between wealth categories more salient
3. Stereotypes: increased wealth categorization leads to more developed
stereotypes about rich and poor (esp competence, warmth and morality)
4. Inequality will be perceived as unfair when
Wealth boundaries are seen as impermeable
- Can i become rich?
- Perception that economic social mobility is NOT possible
- BUT, this is the American/ Canadian dream! Meritocracy - you can
make it if you’re good enough
- Many people overestimate level of upward mobility,
underestimate level of downward mobility, and underestimate
the amount of economic inequality
Social system is perceived as unstable
- Can this system change?
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- If economic inequality has existed a long time, or has a widely
accepted ideological rationale (eg Caste system in India),
perceived as STABLE and inequality is seen as less unfair
Wealth gap perceived as illegitimate
- Is this inequality justified? Why are the rich, rich, and the poor,
poor?
- When wealth is perceived to have come from hard work, seen as
legitimate
- Seen as illegitimate when perceived to have come from
corruption, tax evasion, inheritance, luck, exploitation, theft
5. Different responses based on SES - different psychological processes underlie
poor (relative deprivation) vs wealthy (status anxiety) responses to economic
inequality
Resistance
- Labor movement
- Ideologies that deter resistance
- Meritocracy and individualism
- Equal opportunity and upward social mobility
- Both wealthy and poor deserve their fates
- Rags to riches stories
- Inequality is functional
- Inequality is inevitable
- Class segregation: little positive contact
Poverty simulation past findings
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