How stereotypes are shared through language: A review and introduction of the Social Categories and Stereotypes Communication (SCSC) Framework

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Abstract

Language use plays a crucial role in the consensualization of stereotypes within cultural groups. Based on an integrative review of the literature on stereotyping and biased language use, we propose the Social Categories and Stereotypes Communication (SCSC) framework. The framework integrates largely independent areas of literature, and explicates the linguistic processes through which social-category stereotypes are shared and maintained. We distinguish two groups of biases in language use that jointly feed and maintain three fundamental cognitive variables in (shared) social-category cognition: perceived category entitativity, stereotype content, and perceived essentialism of associated stereotypic characteristics. These are: (1) Biases in linguistic labels used to denote categories, within which we discuss biases in (a) label content and (b) linguistic form of labels; (2) Biases in describing behaviors and characteristics of categorized individuals, within which we discuss biases in (a) communication content (i.e., what information is communicated), and (b) linguistic form of descriptions (i.e., how is information formulated). Together, these biases create a self-perpetuating cycle in which social-category stereotypes are shared and maintained. The framework allows for a better understanding of stereotype maintaining biases in natural language. We discuss various opportunities for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-37
Number of pages37
JournalReview of Communication Research
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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Linguistics
stereotype
Labels
communication
Communication
trend
language
linguistics
cognition
Group

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Discrimination
  • Entitativity
  • Essentialism
  • Language
  • Linguistic bias
  • Prejudice
  • Social categorization
  • Stereotypes

Cite this

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title = "How stereotypes are shared through language: A review and introduction of the Social Categories and Stereotypes Communication (SCSC) Framework",
abstract = "Language use plays a crucial role in the consensualization of stereotypes within cultural groups. Based on an integrative review of the literature on stereotyping and biased language use, we propose the Social Categories and Stereotypes Communication (SCSC) framework. The framework integrates largely independent areas of literature, and explicates the linguistic processes through which social-category stereotypes are shared and maintained. We distinguish two groups of biases in language use that jointly feed and maintain three fundamental cognitive variables in (shared) social-category cognition: perceived category entitativity, stereotype content, and perceived essentialism of associated stereotypic characteristics. These are: (1) Biases in linguistic labels used to denote categories, within which we discuss biases in (a) label content and (b) linguistic form of labels; (2) Biases in describing behaviors and characteristics of categorized individuals, within which we discuss biases in (a) communication content (i.e., what information is communicated), and (b) linguistic form of descriptions (i.e., how is information formulated). Together, these biases create a self-perpetuating cycle in which social-category stereotypes are shared and maintained. The framework allows for a better understanding of stereotype maintaining biases in natural language. We discuss various opportunities for further research.",
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