Lewis Luttrell: Master Thesis Proposal

Lewis Luttrell, a first-year Master’s student, presented his thesis proposal, “Using Polyculturalism to Reduce Intergroup Threat” on November 8th, 2022, in preparation for the upcoming departmental presentation. Polyculturalism is defined as cultures that are byproducts of historical interaction with different groups without a “pure” culture belonging to any one group along with an emphasis on the interconnectionnedness rather than separation. It is one of the four concepts of interethnic ideologies. Some examples would be the two distinct cultures in Louisiana (i.e., Cajun and Creoloe); music genres (i.e., jazz and country); food (i.e., tacos); and architecture (i.e., Indonesian style).

To understand the concept of polyculturalism, it is important to create a solid foundation interconnecting theories such as Social Dominance Theory and Intergroup Threat Theory with Realistic Threat, Perceptions of Threat, and Artifical Segreation. Within previous research, investigations upon ascertaining how polycultural approach may be received by marginalized racial and ethnic groups has been limited. Experts have hypothesized those of marginalized groups could have negative attitudes towards dominant groups which could lead to a decrease in interactions.

At the initial stages of Luttrell’s study, hypothesis one states that polyculturalism with attenuate intergroup threat for all participants regardless of race, ethnicity, and gender. Hypothesis two will narrow the scope to white participants with the expectation that polyculturalism will attenuate intergroup threat regardless of social domination orientation. Measures that will be utilized include SDO-D and SDO-E of SOD7 (alpha=.93), Polyculturalism (alpha= .88), and Intergroup Threat [ITT] for symbolic and realistic threat. Through a prior analysis, Luttrell discovered he would need to obtain 175 participants per group despite previous studies utilizing about 60 individuals per group with the time one and time two phases. During time 1, partipants will initially complete ITT, SDO7, and demographic information. Participants will complete interethnic ideology shift (experimental group) or read an section from the farmers almanac as a control within time 2. However, Luttrell identifies three potential limitations including: a need for a third factor of race; dependence on least one other of race or ethnicity; and two-part study which would increase likelihood of attrition.

We wish you the best of luck on your Master Thesis Defense at the end of the Fall 2022 semester, Lewis! Keep up the wonderful work.

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