Criminology Terms Definitions


Prejudice refers to the unfavorable outlook or attitude that a body or individual has towards particular populations or individuals. It impacts on how a body or individual perceives other populations or individuals. Prejudices stem from individuals’ behavioral persuasions, education, social beliefs, and feelings.


            A stereotype is the judgment that a person passes on others based on particular considerations like gender. There are ongoing contestations regarding the accuracy of stereotypes. There are various challenges limiting the changing of the stereotypical perceptions that a person with respect to other persons.


The term discrimination refers to the negative actions that entail treating particular persons differently from others. Discrimination, as a behavior, may stem from the prejudices that one has against particular people or populations. Some forms of discrimination, for instance racism, do not stem from prejudices.


Racism is a form of discrimination. It is the hatred that a person or population has against people of a particular racial extraction. It is the discrimination of populations based on the extraction.


Sexism refers to the set of prejudices or discriminative outlooks that given individuals have against given populations or other individuals. Normally, women are the victims of sexism. Sexism is especially pronounced in patriarchal societies.

In-Group and Out-Group

An in-group is collection of persons who feel that they belong together by virtue of sharing particular identities or attributes. In-groups are social formations. Normally, in-groups hold given prejudices against those seen as not sharing in particular identities or attitudes.      Out-groups are individuals or collections of individuals considered as not sharing in particular identities or attitudes by given in-groups. Out-groups are invariably discriminated against by in-groups.


Conformity refers to given situations or arrangements in which diverse behaviors such as stereotyping, discrimination, sexism, as well as racism, become normalized or accepted. Conformity may as well refer to the adjustment of individuals’ behaviors or communities’ behaviors to match behaviors that the larger societies deem acceptable.

Institutional Supports and Social Categorization

Social categorization is also commonly christened as social stratification. It is the grouping, or classification of people based on their shared attributes like income levels, religious persuasions and racial extractions. Institutional support refers to the aid, or assistance, that social institutions like the family render to given social categories. It may also refer to the institutional advantages that dominant social categories enjoy over others.

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