Examining intergroup relations across time and space: A comparison between Taiwan and the U.S.

Date of Completion

January 2006


Black Studies|Gerontology|Psychology, Social|Women's Studies




This dissertation examined how intergroup relations are renegotiated within societies during and after major social changes in intergroup relations. Reducing group inequality within societies is difficult because various social systems (e.g., resources, knowledge, or force) favor dominants (e.g., Whites over Blacks or men over women) and prejudicial ideologies against subordinate maintain or enhance the advantages of the dominants. Studying societies undergoing major change over time may reveal important processes not evident in societies in which inequality is not being questioned. Two countries that have undergone social changes were examined: United States (U.S.), a country that experienced civil rights and women's movements, and Taiwan, a country that has been variously ruled by several ethnic groups in the past century. Study 1 investigated system indices (e.g., income) on groups based on ethnicity or race, gender, and age in the U.S. and Taiwan. Different types of system indices (e.g., knowledge, resources, political power, and obligations) were documented across time (from 1970-2003) for each group in each society to observe its change in each society. In Study 2, a meta-analysis was conducted on people's prejudice against racial subordinates, women, and the elderly in the U.S. and Taiwan over the same time period as Study 1. By examining changes on different kinds of system indices (Study 1) and prejudice indices over time (Study 2), how changes became possible in each society was examined. Study 3 compared the temporal relation between system indices and prejudice over time to examine how social changes affect social groups; results are examined with regards to theories of intergroup relations, including elite theory, realistic group conflict theory, relative deprivation theory, social role theory, social identity theory, expectation states theory, social dominance theory, and system justification theory. Temporal relations from annual system indices to prejudice indices and vice versa suggested that both causal relations existed although system indices were less likely to be affected by prejudice indices. Mostly, system indices reflected the macro social environment. ^