Stereotypes perpetuated through social institutions have an immense impact on society’s perception of age as well as people’s experience in old age. Nevertheless, in the manner of how people perceive others, stereotypes do influence how people would behave or interact with a particular individual or group…
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Stereotypes perpetuated through social institutions have an immense impact on society’s perception of age as well as people’s experience in old age. Nevertheless, in the manner of how people perceive others, stereotypes do influence how people would behave or interact with a particular individual or group. On the one hand, stereotypes are parts of society. In fact, stereotypes are preserved and maintained through different institutions such as the church, government, economy, media, as well as family. This is because how the social institutions create, promote or strengthen such stereotypes is causing a great influence on the people’s manner of perceiving an issue. Each life stage is accompanied by stereotypes. How people perceive age is also something that is stereotypical in so many ways just like how the society perceives old age. Old age is stereotyped of being ill, useless, unattractive, declining in mental capacity, poverty as well as depression (Bodurolgu, Yoon, Luo and Park, 2006). Nevertheless, these stereotypes have a role to play in our society because they are indeed powerful. Its power is signalling the fact that people are deviating from what is expected or what is considered normal in a particular society. Stereotypes may be degrading but it is a function of social control. In the way of how social institutions perpetuate stereotypes, the society will be in order. Given this, this paper will critically analyze the relationship of stereotypes of old age and social institutions. Understanding the relationship between stereotypes of old age and social institutions is relevant for the reason that it gives meaning and comprehension to the taken for granted realities. Understanding Stereotypes and the Society Stereotype, an image associated to a specific group of individuals, is part of our society. According to Ford and Stangor (1992), the process of forming stereotypes is that most of the time, people make extreme feature of a particular group and assess the judgement on the rest of its group members. After the formation of such stereotype, Linville, Fischer and Salovey (1989) claimed that people tend to perceive members of a particular group limited within – group variability. It is the case that stereotypes are standardized and homogenized perception of individuals that is grounded on some previous assumptions. Every so often, the function of stereotypes is that it works as the initial and main grounds for gauging a particular group and its members (Kunda and Sherman – Williams, 1993). That is to say, the established judgements based on stereotypes are created hastily (Macrae, Bodehausen and Milne, 1995). Different theories explain how stereotypes are formed as well as its roles and effects on the society. According to Tajfel and Turner (1979), the social identity theory is an approach which expects how a particular group behaves based on the perceived status, acceptability as well as permeability of environment. Hogg and Vaughan (2002) defined social identity as a part of the self – concept of an individual which was stemmed from the distinguished membership or belongingness in one’s social group. Even though it is the case that some researchers regard social identity theory as generalizing and oversimplifying about the human selves (Haslam, Ellemers, Reicher, Reynolds and Schmitt, 2010), this approach is not aimed to be an all – purpose and broad – spectrum approach to social categorization (Turner and Reynolds, 2010). On the one hand, according to Oakes, Haslam and Turner (1994), the theory of
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“The Concept of Old Age, Its Stereotypes and the Social Institutions Essay”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/sociology/1396614-the-concept-of-old-age-its-stereotypes-and-the-social-institutions.
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