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
Aloyne J. Ormerod
Discrimination is a complex social problem that affects individuals, groups, organizations, and society as a whole. Scholars describe discrimination as consisting of types (e.g., subtle or overt), occurring across levels (e.g., individual, institutional, cultural), and in relation to its targets (e.g., racial or ethnic, sexual, sexual orientation). The focus of study in many disciplines and a common element across definitions is that discrimination is an unfair action or behavior that results in negative outcomes for targeted social groups or their members. Discrimination can be experienced as a major event or as a chronic condition, such as an ongoing barrier to resources. The cause of discrimination is the subject of much social science research and has been conceptualized in various ways, but is typically linked to prejudice and stereotyping, which are thought of as the attitudinal and cognitive components, respectively, that underlie discrimination. A widespread phenomenon, discrimination can be observed by ...