Article

Social Class and Racial and Ethnic Identity: Perspectives on the Psychological Impact of Social Stratification and Inequality

Alex L. Pieterse, Simon Chung, Tania Khan and Jeremy Bissram

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Class in Counseling

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780195398250
Published online May 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195398250.013.0023

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Social Class and Racial and Ethnic Identity: Perspectives on the Psychological Impact of Social Stratification and Inequality

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  • Psychology
  • Counselling Psychology
  • Psychological Assessment and Testing
  • Developmental Psychology

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Like other forms of categorization, social class is an enduring feature of American society. While social class status has a direct bearing on access and opportunity, social stratification also carries with it a psychological component that is now receiving more attention in the literature. As such, this chapter provides a review of social class as a psychological construct and explores the intersection between social class and racial-ethnic identity. We argue that both types of social stratification have psychological implications for the individual and therefore need consideration in both identity-related research and clinical practice. Given that both social stratification and ethnic identity within the United States is often associated with inequality, we encourage ongoing attention to the psychological impact of societal oppression. In addition we highlight the intersecting nature of socially constructed identities and provide a case illustration in which to explore these dynamics from a clinical perspective.

Keywords: social class; identity; race; ethnicity; oppression

Article.  11576 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Counselling Psychology ; Psychological Assessment and Testing ; Developmental Psychology

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