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Traub-Werner, D. (1984). Towards a Theory of Prejudice. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 11:407-412.

(1984). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 11:407-412

Towards a Theory of Prejudice

D. Traub-Werner


Prejudice is a complex phenomenon. Many of its constituents have been addressed in the psychoanalytic literature. Because it is also multi-determined, prejudice has been the object of study of the social sciences at large. However, history and social theory often fail to take into account the intrapsychic dimension. diverse and sometimes divergent viewpoints could be integrated into the three complementary dimensions of prejudice: the process of prejudice, its ideational content and its symbolic function.

A specific defensive structure underlies the process and renders the individual vulnerable to become prejudiced. Historical and social forces provide the conscious ideational content to the process. Furthermore, the content will be interpreted

in accordance with the individual's developmental fixations or regression and will so acquire an all-inclusive symbolic meaning.

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