Sociological Imagination: Western’s Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal

Article Title

Social Dominance Theory: The Explanation behind Social Hierarchy and Oppression?


Human oppression and suffering are common in Western society and evident in other societies across the globe. This oppression is due to hierarchal structures that place a group of individuals at the top of the social system, with other individuals or groups at the bottom. To describe this formation of group-based hierarchal structures amongst societies, Sidanius and Pratto (1999) introduced Social Dominance Theory (SDT). Though Sidanius and Pratto drew from several pre-existing theories within the psychological and sociological field, the most important sources contributing to the synthesis of SDT are discussed. Focus is placed on the implications and applications of the theory, including workplace and gender subordination, in addition to criticism of the theory. SDT is then contrasted with other motivational theories that explain cognitive thought and behavioural action.

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