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Grolar Bears, Social Class, and Policy Relevance: Extraordinary Agendas for the Emerging 21st Century

Author(s): Fiske, Susan T.

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Abstract: This Agenda article first considers whether social psychology is in the best or worst of times and suggests that we are instead in extraordinary times, given exciting agendas and potential policy relevance, if we are careful. The article illustrates with two current research agendas—the hybrid vigor of multiple categories and the psychology of social class—that could inform policy. The essay then reflects on how we know when our work is indeed ready for the public arena. Regarding hybrids: World immigration, social media, and global businesses are increasing. How will this complicate people’s stereotypes of each other? One agenda could build on the existing social and behavioral science of people as social hybrids, emerging with a framework to synthesize existing work and guide future research that better reflects our changing world. Policy implications already emerge from our current knowledge of hybrids. Regarding the social psychology of social class: We do not know enough yet to give advice, except to suggest questioning some common stereotypes, e.g., about the economic behavior of lower-income people. Before the budding social psychology of class can be ready for policy export, the research results need replication, validation, and generality. Overall, principles of exportable policy insights include peer-reviewed standards, honest brokering, nonpartisan advice, and respectful, trustworthy communication. Social psychology can take advantage of its extraordinary times to be innovative and useful.
Publication Date: Aug-2015
Electronic Publication Date: 29-May-2015
Citation: Fiske, Susan T. (2015). Grolar Bears, Social Class, and Policy Relevance: Extraordinary Agendas for the Emerging 21st Century. European Journal of Social Psychology, 45 (5), 551 - 559. doi:10.1002/ejsp.2117
DOI: doi:10.1002/ejsp.2117
ISSN: 0046-2772
Pages: 551 - 559
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: European Journal of Social Psychology
Version: Author's manuscript

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