Change and Stability in Intergroup Perceptions

Type of resource
Change and Stability in Intergroup Perceptions
The authors set out in the 1980s to examine whether language-based stereotypes of English and French Canadians changed or remained stable following a period of considerable socio-political change in Quebec. Using the matched guise technique, the authors asked groups of English and French Canadian subjects to rate three trilingual males speaking in Canadian English, Quebec French and European French guises on scales related to status (e.g. educated, ambitious) and solidarity (e.g. likeable, warm) characteristics. They compared the their results with those found by in a 1960 study by Lambert, Hodgson, Gardner and Fillenbaum. The authors found that, relative to 1960, the present subjects expressed more in-group solidarity but that both groups continued to downgrade speakers of Quebec French on status traits. The status results for the French Canadian respondents could not be accounted for by actual socio-economic advantages associated with English. Nor were they specific to comparisons between Quebec French and Canadian English since similar effects were found for comparisons with European French. The authors conclude that the status results need to be interpreted in terms of a generalised psychological stereotype of French Canadians that is relatively immune to objective evidence. They argue that their results suggest that it is easier to change perceptions of in-group solidarity than perceptions of intergroup status, and that the former can be achieved through actions with high symbolic value, such as language legislation.
Journal of Language and Social Psychology
Vol. 8
no. 1
March 1989
Genesee, Fred, and Naomi E. Holobow. “Change and Stability in Intergroup Perceptions.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology Vol. 8, no. 1 (March 1989): 17–38.
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