Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Noah M. Collins
Stereotype is generally defined as a consciously or unconsciously held rigid belief or expectation about a group that does not easily permit exceptions. Stereotyped beliefs are held by a group (commonly called the ingroup) and involve an agenda that benefits the ingroup at the expense of the stereotyped group (commonly called the outgroup or target group). Stereotypes help the ingroup members feel good about their group and themselves relative to the target group. A stereotype often concerns a trait that is important to the ingroup's identity and emphasizes the distinctness and inferiority of the outgroup. Relatedly, stereotypes maintain sociopolitical hierarchies in society. They can serve as a justification for believing that certain groups are superior to others and as a rationale for oppressing target groups. While the phenomenon of stereotyping has been defined and explored primarily in social and cognitive psychology, it has many implications for counseling and has been ...