Culture and social distance: a case study of methodological cautions.
The authors presented, as a case study of methodological challenges in cross-cultural research, E. S. Bogardus's (1925) Social Distance Scale, which requires respondents to indicate the social distance between themselves and others. The meaningfulness of the scale depends on the assumption that respondents believe that the magnitude of social distance increases as one moves through the social categories of family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, and citizen. The authors tested this assumption for English Canadian, French Canadian, Jewish, Indian, Algerian, and Greek participants, all 1st-generation immigrants in Montreal. The participants rated their willingness to associate with members of each of the other ethnic groups in 5 social categories. The percentage of respondents in each sample whose data conformed to the prediction ranged from 63.7% to 98.0%, with English Canadian, French Canadian, and Jewish respondents providing responses most consistent with the predicted pattern. The Indian and Algerian respondents' data were the least consistent with the predicted pattern, especially when rating members of their own ethnic groups.
Weinfurt, KP; Maghaddam, FM
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