Podział na „swoich” i „obcych”. Analiza kategoryzacji społecznych funkcjonujących wśród robotników
Sztabiński, Paweł B.
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The study deals with further deepened analyses being a continuation of those undertaken in the previous one. In the previous study stereotypes of particular groups were considered in isolation from each other; in the present one the unit of analysis is the stereotype of a workman in comparison with the stereotypes of a peasant and of a clerk. In the interpretation of results of these analyses exploited was the conception of social categorization developed by H. Tajfel. According to this conception the categories distinguished by every individual in order to structure the social milieu have an evaluative nature. To one’s own category attaches a positive evaluation whilst all other categories are discriminated against. Comparison of the stereotypes of a peasant, a clerk and a workman ascertained on the basis of graphical scales has revealed a surprising absence of inter-group discrimination. Among nearly 75% of respondents (workmen) there appeared, together with a positive evaluation of own group, the same positive evaluation of peasants, and/or clerks. Three possible explanations of this phenomenon come to mind: first, the adopted criterion of recognizing certain beliefs as stereotypes was too loose; second, the lack of discrimination resulted from deficiency of the research procedure; third, the conception of H. Tajfel was not confirmed in our research results. These three possibilities are discussed in the study. As regards the first possibility, one should keep in mind that it is not so that every belief to which may be assigned the plus or minus sign (i.e. the value of the synthetic index of valence different from zero) is a stereotype. Very weak beliefs cannot fulfill the social functions of stereotypes as described in scientific literature. Therefore, in further analyses such weak beliefs were considered as ambivalent ones, i.e. such in which the positive and negative traits indicated by a respondent are in equilibrium. The comparison of the stereotypes of a peasant, a clerk and a workman after introduction of this rectification revealed a considerable increase of the cases of discrimination on the part of workmen against the two remaining groups. This shows that recognizing weak beliefs as stereotypes has actually contributed to the “dilution” of the emerging tendencies – but only to a certain degree as still nearly 60% of respondents having a positive stereotype of a workman had also a positive stereotype of at least one group. The next possibility to explain the phenomenon in question was to ascribe it to the deficiency of the applied research procedure. Its analysis showed that the division of society into peasants, clerks and workmen introduced at the beginning of the questionnaire was not presented as the only possible and exhaustive social categorization in a given situation; besides, this division was not consistently applied in the course of the whole interview. Therefore it seems justified to think that most of the respondents adopted their own categorization which partly overlapped with that presented in the research. The group with which such respondents might have identified themselves would then have embraced, in addition to workmen, also peasants and/or clerks. In order to verify this hypothesis full sets of the traits assigned by respondents to peasants, clerks and workmen were compared (this was the third possible explanation of the lack of inter-group discrimination). If the people belonging to two or more from among the groups distinguished in our research were actually treated as one group, then according to Tajfel’s conception, they should be perceived as similar to each other. The results of this comparison corroborated the hypothesis. When the group of workmen as well as that of peasants and/or clerks were evaluated positively there appeared much overlapping of the traits assigned to them; but if the positive evaluation related to the group of workmen only and the negative one to peasants and/or clerks, then the cases of overlapping were very few. This meant that the groups whose evaluation was negative, were treated as out-groups. So, inter-group discrimination did appear in our research but it could be observed only after reconstruction of those social categorizations which were actually adopted by the respondents. Further evidence of validity of this conclusion was provided by the comparison of social images of own group with those of out-groups: there appeared always an over-evaluation of the former group (regardless of whether included into it were only workmen or, at the same time, also peasants or/and clerks) and-a discrimination accompanied by depreciation (negative evaluation) or without depreciation (ambivalent evaluation) in relation to tie out-group members. Analysis of the content of social images or stereotypes of the groups distinguished by respondents was not considered advisable as the assignment to a given group, of certain traits composing its stereotype serves only the purpose of manifesting one’s attitude toward it. So, though on the basis of any set of traits it is possible to identity an attitude of a given person toward this group – it is not possible to ascertain that it is only these traits that determine this attitude in an exhaustive manner. No finite set of traits exhausts the full content of a stereotype. Analyses done so far enable one to present social categorizations adopted by respondents in our research. The most frequent was the categorization in which as “own group” was treated the group embracing workmen, peasants and clerks – whilst as a depreciated out-group was seen some other group difficult to identify; perhaps it was a question of the division between “people living by their labor” and “loafers” or the like. Other most frequent categorization consisted in the division between the workmen as an in-group and the peasants and clerks as out-groups with depreciation of the latter or without it (when accentuation of the distinctness of own group was limited to its over-evaluation). The analyses presented in the study show that social stereotypes should not be seen in isolation from social categorizations and apart from the feeling of social identity of respondents. One must not assume that respondents – workmen, identify themselves always with workmen and always treat other groups as out-groups. It is possible to impose on them exactly such a categorization (or nearly any other one) but in that case it should be clearly introduced and be present in the course of the whole interview. In the contrary case the categorizations adopted by respondents can by only reconstructed ex post.