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Multiculturalism and Diversity: A Social Psychological Perspective

ISBN: 978-1-4051-9065-7
192 pages
August 2009, ©2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Multiculturalism and Diversity: A Social Psychological Perspective (1405190655) cover image


Multiculturalism and Diversity focuses on the ways in which history and identity inform each other, and examines the politics of culture as well as the politics of cultural identities within the U.S.
  • Illustrates the basic proposition that each of us is a unique multicultural human being and that culture affects individual self-definition, experience, behavior, and social interaction 
  • Moves from early simple definitions of multiculturalism to more complex understandings focused on culture as learned, teachable (shared), and fluid
  • Uses a critical approach to the study of culture and personal identity that is informed by historical and social factors and an appreciation of their interaction
  • Examines the various cultural threads within the mosaic of a person’s multicultural self such as sexual identity, gender, social class, and ethnicity
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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: The Multicultural Person.

Multicultural Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Interpretive Lenses.

Persons and Communities.

A Proposed Social Psychological Perspective.

Definitions and Common Themes.

2 Culture.

Culture is Part of Human Biology.

Diversity of Cultures.

Empiricism and Social Constructions.

3 Ethnicity.

Race and Racism.


4 Gender.

Differences in Relative Power.

Cultures of Gender.

Interactions with Ethnicity.

Gender Salience.

5 Social Class.

Doing Social Class.

Unequal Access to Resources.

Working-Class and Low-Income Families.

The Middle Class.

The Rich.

Moving On.

6 Sexual Identity Cultures.

Heterosexual Culture.

Sexual Minority Cultures.

7 The Cultural Mosaic.

Diverse Cultural Communities.

Cultural Identities: How Do I Describe Myself?

Conflicting Identities.

Cultural Intersections.

8 Some Implications for Research and Practice.



What Now?


Subject Index.

Name Index.

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Author Information

Bernice Lott is Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island and is a former Dean of its University College. She received her university’s Excellence Award for scholarly achievement, an honorary degree as Doctor of Humane Letters, served as president of APA’s Division 35 (The Psychology of Women), and has been honored for scholarly, teaching, mentoring, and social policy contributions by APA’s Committee on Women, Division 35, the Association for Women in Psychology, the National Multicultural Conference and Summit, and the New England Psychological Association.
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"Readers will enjoy its clarity, succinctness, and current examples. A timely contribution, the book can enrich training for research or practice and should prove valuable for anyone interested in culture and diversity." (Psychology of Women Quarterly, 2011)

"For instructors and researchers looking for new and better ways to define and describe the difficult constructs of culture, diversity, and multiculturalism, Multiculturalism and Diversity lives up to the task....... Furthermore, its individual chapters may serve as helpful stand-alone treatises on the four major cultural groups." (PsycCRITIQUES, September 15, 2010)

"A very good introduction for academics and (separately) the truly provincial for whom college is the first step out of their cultural womb." (Prometheus 6, January 2010)

"Incisive, wise, and extremely thought-provoking is the new book by Bernice Lott. From her brilliant observation that all of us are multicultural flows a narrative that invites us to re-think issues of self and society. The implications of Lott's analyses are both exciting and profound. A great book!"
Faye J. Crosby, University of California, Santa Cruz

"This book is truly unique. Integrating research and theories, the author makes a case that every individual is multicultural and further elucidates how contexts, roles, and power differentials underlie the conditions of major ethnic/gender/social class/sexual orientation groups. Written in an engaging and accessible manner, this book is suitable for any course on multiculturalism and diversity."
Ying-yi Hong, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

"Multiculturalism and Diversity -- two words that capture the essence of our contemporary social worlds. In this book Bernice Lott explores the social psychological impact of cultural diversity. The result is a resounding success: The writing is cogent, the examples striking, the analysis clear and insightful. Lott’s comprehensive and compelling thesis represents a significant advance in our efforts to understand the evolving nature of self in multicultural societies."
Richard J. Crisp, University of Kent

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