Article

Discrimination

Issa Kohler-Hausmann

in Sociology

ISBN: 9780199756384
Published online July 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0013
Discrimination

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Discrimination is an action or practice that excludes, disadvantages, or merely differentiates between individuals or groups of individuals on the basis of some ascribed or perceived trait, although the definition itself is subject to substantial debate. The sociological study of discrimination could be divided into two types of inquiries: discrimination as a social phenomenon to be explained and discrimination as an explanation for other observed social phenomenon. Discrimination has been addressed by a wide range of disciplines as an explanatory object—including sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, economics, and law—all seeking to shed light on why discrimination occurs and what conditions give rise to and reproduce its practice. What distinguishes a sociological approach to discrimination as an explanatory object from that in other disciplines, namely psychology or economics, is its insistence on looking at the macro level of analysis, explaining the phenomenon as a result of social processes not necessarily reducible to individual-level preferences or cognitive processes. Sociologists have also addressed discrimination as an explanation for an observed phenomenon of interest, namely social stratification: the unequal distribution of status, material benefits, and political rights.

Article.  18313 words. 

Subjects: Sociology ; Comparative and Historical Sociology ; Economic Sociology ; Gender and Sexuality ; Health, Illness, and Medicine ; Population and Demography ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Movements and Social Change ; Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility ; Social Theory

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