Deconstructing Discrimination

Minorities in America, as elsewhere in the world, have suffered much discrimination. America has known the Jim Crow laws of racial segregation. Today, laws that discriminate against homosexual people are under debate. Luckily, America has also witnessed significant social and institutional changes and inspiring leaders that gave their lives to bring about greater understanding and equality between disparate groups.
My thesis takes an anthropological, psychological, sociological, and historical perspective to analyze the roots and perpetuation of discrimination and the possibility of social and institutional change.
A first step to perceiving how a situation or institution can change is to understand how that situation arose. How does one group of people become subordinated by and to another group? How do people start to differentiate between themselves and ‘the other’ so as to create these social categories – such as ‘black’ vs. ‘white’ person or ‘homosexual’ vs. ‘heterosexual’ person – in the first place? The construction of social systems of classification, which designate inclusion vs. exclusion, is major theme of this thesis.
Bringing about change in a society is a complex process. This thesis looks at the role of played by individuals involved in the process of societal change. Individual dissenters become mobilized into mass movements. What reactions can be expected when a minority has set itself apart and pulls into question the social structures in which the majority feels comfortable? The dialectic between two competing paradigms that takes place in times of change can be observed through the chapters of this thesis, and a discourse analysis will be provided. An important question of this thesis is: How can discriminatory practices and attitudes towards a particular group of people eventually change?

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Citation should look something like this:

Holleman, Mirjam                                                                                                                                  2009 “Deconstructing Discrimination” B.A. Thesis, University College Roosevelt Academy.  Middelburg, the Netherlands.
In text citation: (Holleman, 2009. Deconstructing Discrimination)



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