How we see ourselves and others depend largely on everyday conversations and informal chats. In these conversations, people like to talk about other people and groups – for instance, the perceptions that native Dutch have of non-native Dutch are typically developed in conversations in which non-native people are nor heard. This kind of seemingly harmless communication within groups can play a key role in the development of conflicts between social groups. In this process, perceptions of others are influenced not only by what people discuss (positive aspects) but also by how they discuss this (at individual or group level). This dissertation reveals that a positive conversation about a Moroccan-Dutch person such as Najob Amhali has little effect on the perception of Moroccan-Dutch people as a group. However, a positive conversation about how hospitable and caring Moroccan-Dutch people are as a group improves native Dutch’s perceptions of them. The negative consequences of social categorization can be countered best by mentioning the category’s positive characteristics. However, if people have a negative perception about a group, they by default tend to do exactly the opposite: Information that matches a stereotypic image is discussed at a group level, whereas information that does not match this stereotype is discussed in a more individualizing manner. This implies that natural conversation tendencies facilitate maintenance of stereotypes. The conclusion of this dissertation is that negative categorizing should be countered with positive categorizing.
|Doctor of Philosophy
- Postmes, Tom, Supervisor
- Gordijn, Ernestine, Supervisor
- van Zomeren, Martijn, Co-supervisor
|Place of Publication
|Published - 2015