Before the measurement of prejudice: Early psychological and sociological papers on prejudice

Russell J. Webster, Donald A. Saucier, Richard J. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Given its renown, many psychologists and sociologists likely consider the publication of Gordon Allport's (1954/1979) seminal book The Nature of Prejudice as the inauguration of the psychological study of prejudice. However, we have uncovered rarely-cited, published papers (starting in 1830) that provide a wealth of speculation on prejudice even before psychologists/sociologists attempted to measure it (circa 1925). Thus, this paper intends to discuss early published work on prejudice in psychology and sociology by focusing on three key questions: a) when did psychologists/sociologists recognize prejudice as a psychological phenomenon, b) when did psychologists/sociologists recognize prejudice as a phenomenon in need of study, and c) what were the historical and personal conditions that gave rise to the interest in prejudice? In short, the seeds of prejudice research were maturing for some time before Allport's seminal book and the first attitudinal studies on prejudice, although these earlier works are seldom cited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-313
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the history of the behavioral sciences
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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