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Handbook of Prejudice By Anton Pelinka, Karin Bischof, and Karin Stögner ...

Chapter Introduction:  Introduction to the Handbook on Prejudice
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Handbook of Prejudice

Introduction

Aleida Assmann

The scientific investigation of prejudices dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1904 William Graham Sumner published a book with the title Folkways, in which he introduced the term ethnocentrism. In 1924 Walter Lippmann coined the term stereotype in a book on public opinion. A consistent discourse on prejudice, however, started only after the Second World War. It was inspired by scholars who had immediate experience of what they were researching either before their eyes or in their bones: Gordon W. Allport wrote in the midst of a racially segregated society in the mid-fifties in the United States of America, Henri Tajfel was a survivor of the Holocaust who preserved an acute sensibility for strategies of exclusion and acts of discrimination. The topic of prejudices that was elaborated in scientific discourses throughout the twentieth century has not lost anything of its urgent topicality in the twenty-first century. While there is growing awareness that many former boundaries of race or gender have become more permeable or have even vanished, other