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They think I’m a scrounger: a social-psychological examination of the effects of stigmatisation in unemployment

Okoroji, Celestin (2020) They think I’m a scrounger: a social-psychological examination of the effects of stigmatisation in unemployment. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004261


Unemployment is an under-researched category in social psychology. Where unemployment has been studied, research often invokes individual-level antecedents and consequences of unemployment. Therefore, societal and social influences on the experience of unemployment require further exploration. This thesis aims to fill this gap in the literature on unemployment by taking a social-psychological approach to the study of unemployment. In particular, focusing on how unemployed people come to be stigmatised and the effects of this stigmatisation on self and other. The thesis shows how stigmatisation manifests in public discourse and affects social identification, cognitive performance and the evaluations of others. The thesis does this by using a triangulated mixed-methods approach across seven studies in three empirical chapters, which draw upon social representations theory, social identity theory, stereotype threat and the stereotype content model. The results of these studies show that negative discourses in the public sphere have risen over the last two decades. At the same time, public attitudes towards unemployed people have become harsher. Such societally held discourse affect how unemployed people identify with unemployment and perceive that they are identified, with significant ramifications for self-esteem, well-being and cognitive performance. In addition, societally held representations of the unemployed affect how they are evaluated by others, negatively impacting their employment prospects. The thesis draws together several theories in social psychology to provide a more nuanced explanation of the effects of stigmatisation in permeable social groups. In particular, the thesis suggests a dialogical, rather than linear, approach to the social psychology of stigmatisation

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2020 Celestin Okoroji
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Gleibs, Ilka H. and Jovchelovitch, Sandra

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