Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología
Print version ISSN 0120-0534
RAMIREZ, Luisa; LEVY, Sheri R.; VELILLA, Elizabeth and HUGHES, Julie M.. Considering the roles of Culture and Social Status: The Protestant Work Ethic and Egalitarianism. rev.latinoam.psicol. [online]. 2010, vol.42, n.3, pp. 381-390. ISSN 0120-0534.
The Protestant work ethic (PWE) is prevalent in many cultures. Abundant work in social psychology, primarily in the U.S., suggests that people use PWE to justify their own prejudice and society's differential treatment of less successful or disadvantaged persons. Recent theorizing suggests that PWE's intergroup meaning can be influenced by people's age, social status, and culture such that PWE not only has an intolerant or "justifier"-of-inequality meaning (disadvantaged persons deserve their disadvantage), but also a tolerant or equalizer meaning (effort is a social equalizer). The main goal of the present investigation was to show that PWE does not necessarily develop a justifier meaning within or across cultures. Past work shows that among the majority group, European Americans, PWE is positively related to egalitarianism among children but less so with increasing age, presumably because the justifier meaning becomes increasingly salient and group relevant (justifies their groups' high status). In Study 1, we show that among the majority group in Colombia, Mestizos, PWE is positively related to egalitarianism (and negatively related to social dominance orientation) across age groups, presumably because the justifier meaning is less salient and relevant in a culture where people tend to blame others less for their disadvantage. In Study 2, we show that among African Americans, who have historically been a disadvantaged and stigmatized group, PWE is positively related to egalitarianism across age groups, presumably because the justifier meaning is less relevant and salient to their group. The implications of these findings are discussed.
Keywords : Lay theories; prejudice; SDO; egalitarianism; PWE; Protestant Work Ethic; Social Dominance Orientation.