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Sociology Brown Bag

Friday, 11 November, 2016

This Sociology Brown Bag will take place at noon on Friday, Nov. 11, in the  Center for Global Citizenship, Room 124A.

"Stereotypes in Context: How Context Heterogeneity Conditions Street-Level Bureaucrats’ Use of Social Stereotypes," by Gitte Sommer Harrits, Ph.D., associate professor in political science, Aarhus University, Demark, visiting scholar, Institute for Policy and Social Research, Kansas University, U.S.A.

How do social stereotypes impact the exercise of discretion among street-level bureaucrats? And does the use of stereotypes vary across contexts? This talk will present results from a study using vignette experiments and in-depth studies of semi-structured interviews with Danish street-level bureaucrats working within preventive policies of health care for families, childcare and primary schools. The talk will show how social class stereotypes are conditioned by social context - that is, the social composition of the local population - so that stereotypes tend to be weakened in areas with heterogeneous populations. Moreover, differences in the use of stereotypes will be shown to be related to how street-level bureaucrats use simplified or not simplified interpretations of clients.