Department of Educational Psychology


Date of this Version



Patterns of Prejudice 44:3 (2010), pp. 309–310.

doi: 10.1080/0031322X.2010.489739


Copyright © 2010 David Moshman. Published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. Used by permission.


The classic psychological work on prejudice is Gordon Allport’s 1954 The Nature of Prejudice. Half a century later, its definitive modern counterpart must surely be On the Nature of Prejudice: Fifty Years after Allport (2005). Systematically reconsidering Allport’s work in light of subsequent research and theorizing, On the Nature of Prejudice provides, in one carefully edited volume, the most comprehensive statement on the psychology of prejudice currently available. The Future of Prejudice: Psychoanalysis and the Prevention of Prejudice, in contrast, is simply a collection of sixteen chapters that, although generally psychoanalytic in orientation, vary greatly in form, content, scope, and quality. Even if the book as a whole does not make a contribution greater than the sum of its parts, however, there is much of interest in the various parts.

There are at least two important respects in which On the Nature of Prejudice and The Future of Prejudice resemble each other and Allport’s original work. The first is that they are efforts to provide a psychological understanding of prejudice. Prejudice is not dismissed as the inexplicable result of evil in the world. Rather, it is seen as a natural phenomenon subject to psychological explanation. Second, prejudice in its basic forms is seen as normative rather than exceptional or pathological. We all have prejudices, and the explanation of our prejudices is rooted in our general psychological characteristics.

Furthermore, there are at least two important respects in which The Future of Prejudice differs from both On the Nature of Prejudice and Allport’s original volume. One is that The Future of Prejudice highlights psychoanalytic approaches to prejudice, such as a focus on stranger anxiety in infancy as an explanation for prejudicial tendencies. On the Nature of Prejudice, in contrast, is rooted in cognitive social psychology, as was Allport’s original volume (which was ahead of its time in this regard). Prejudice was seen by Allport, and continues to be seen by social psychologists of the twenty-first century, as originating in general aspects of our perception and thinking, not in early attachments and associated experiences.