Thema's en trends in de sociolinguistiek 2
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Research in both Europe and America indicates that the way in which mass communication deals with ethnic minorities contributes directly and indirectly to the diffusion and the maintenance of prejudice against these groups. These are generally projected as problem categories in cultural and in socioeconomic sense. In this article we pay attention to the causes and functions of prejudice and especially to the role of mass communication media in this regard. Furthermore, attention is paid to the possibilities of and the extent to which the media can succeed in fighting against such negative attitudes towards the groups concerned. In this regard, a distinction is made between preventive and interven-tive strategies. Based on certain theories of social psychology on attitude forming and on the use and absorption of information it is concluded that though manipulation of attitude is not easily achieved, it is nevertheless possible. Various experi-ments in similar fields show that, under certain conditions, the supply of informa-tion through an adequate intervention strategy of the media can to some extent generate attitude change in the desired direction. However, such a positive result can only be achieved (1) if the basic thoughts underlying the prejudice concerned can be accurately identified; (2) if the difference between the information provided on the one hand and the existing information on the other is neither too weak nor too strong; (3) if the relevant information is provided by prominent persons and media in society; and (4) if the intended message emphasizes the positive rather than the negative similarities between minorities and the other groups. Because of the complexity of such an intervention process it is doubtfull whether the media can actually play an effective role in this context. Consequently, being attentive to the way in which the media provide information about the groups concerned is a more appropriate strategy in preventing the diffusion of prejudice. In this article, some relevant suggestions in this regard have been discussed.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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