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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: June 2012

16 - The Intergenerational Transmission of Xenophobia and Rightism in East Germany



The functional analysis of social processes reveals the importance of controlled transmission of the ideological patterns of a society. The stability of a society depends to a considerable extent on the structure of a social ideology (Six, 2002, p. 74), if ideology is understood as a system of social beliefs and orientations that exist as a frame of reference commonly accepted by a group or a society. Another premise is that an ideology includes patterns of interpretations for the explanation of social processes as well as a frame for evaluations that provides information regarding what is right or wrong, good or bad, but also provides rules that serve as standards for behavior in social contexts. Elements of such ideologies are values, norms, attitudes, prejudices, and stereotypes, which exist in numerous facets in various content areas. In his list of “isms,” Saucier (2000) reports more than 500 different general value orientations – for example, authoritarianism, conservatism, Machiavellism, humanism, egalitarianism, ethnocentrism, racism, and liberalism. The concrete transformation of such general mental orientations into attitudes and prejudices results in a wide repertoire of social orientations that has to be controlled if the maintenance of a social system is to be guaranteed.

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