On the parallels between social cognition and the 'new racism'

Nick Hopkins, Steve Reicher, Mark Levine

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    87 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper questions the degree to which the social cognition perspective allows us to explore and critique contemporary racism. In the first section we consider the way in which the social cognition perspective talks of 'racial' categorization and the processes of racism, and note how these reproduce the key themes to be found in 'new racism'. In the second, we interrogate the adequacy of this approach through exploring how a police officer engages with the charge of police racism. On the one hand, this analysis illustrates the importance of exploring the ways in which racialized social categories are constructed strategically to advance particular understandings of the genesis of social conflict. On the other, it provides a concrete example of how many of the arguments advanced by the social cognition perspective may be used for reactionary purposes (in this case a defence against the charge of racism). We argue that there is a need to resist taking categories for granted and so develop a social psychological analysis of the processes of racialization.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)305-329
    Number of pages25
    JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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