Bogardus social distance scale

Quick Reference

A scaling technique for measuring social distance, pioneered by Emory S. Bogardus in the 1930s, usually applied to the study of ethnic relations, social classes, and social values generally. The scale attempts to measure respondents’ degree of warmth, intimacy, indifference, or hostility to particular social relationships, by having them indicate agreement or disagreement with a series of statements about particular (say) religious groups. For example, would these groups be acceptable as visitors to the country, fellow citizens, neighbours, personal friends, and close kin by marriage? Characteristically, the scales make the assumption that the attributes measured can be ordered as a continuum of social distance (in the above example this ranges from exclusion from the country to close kinship by marriage). Other examples of social distance scaling techniques include sociometric measurement, and occupational prestige scales, which require respondents to judge the social standing of a selection of occupations.

Subjects: Sociology.

Reference entries