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The article under analysis is called When Inequality Matters: The Effects of Inequality Frames on Academic Engagement. The research studies demonstrate the relationship between self-esteem and academic performance among various ethnic groups as well as how disengagement of those influences students’ achievements. The authors distinguish between subordinate-group disadvantage and dominant-group advantage contributing to defining the main factors causing inequity of academic engagement. The studies, therefore, aim to define how disengagement can influence subordinate and dominant groups in terms of their perception of academic outcomes and self-esteem.
At the beginning of the article, the research introduces the basic terms and definitions that needed to understand the created interdependencies. In particular, such notions as dominant group, subordinate group, disengagement, attributional ambiguity subordinate-group disadvantage, and dominant-group advantage are explored to proceed with further deliberation on the issue of inequality.
Further analysis of inequity frames produces discussion of social dominance theory and social identity theory that provide underpinnings for analyzing the roots of White advantage and realizing Black disadvantage. In particular, the authors argue that “the motive to protect their self-esteem cause Whites to deny the existent of inequity framed as White advantage, but it does not affect their perceptions of inequity framed as Black disadvantage” (Lowery and Wout, 2010, p. 957). The evidence of existing advantages and disadvantages highlight the psychological disconnection between the two representations of inequality.
Further research proceeds with five experiments. The first one includes analysis of grades, self-esteem, and self-perceived competence. To research the hypothesis, qualitative methods have been used to predict the relationship between the academic outcome of the participants and their self-esteem. The second experiment evaluates the relations between inequality frames, perceived justice and conscious disengagement. The procedure has demonstrated that “participants exposed to the minority disadvantage frame reported greater disengagement to the minority…than did participants exposed to the White advantage frame” (Lowery and Wout, 2010, p. 960).
The next experiment involves the evaluation of math engagement and gender inequality to define that math competence would be stronger among female participants than among male participants. The forth experiment introduces white academic disengagement consideration. As a result, disengagement observes when inequality is framed in terms of White advantage, but not in terms of Black disadvantage.
All the above-described experiments create implication for further research in academics. In particular, the authors conclude that the result prove minorities’ greater attention to academics and female participants’ greater concern with physical sciences and mathematics. There is also an evident connection between such notions as self-esteem and academic outcomes concerning disengagement. In this respect, the authors consider it reasonable to define further perspectives of studying motivation within these frames.
Attention should also be given to disadvantage perceived among minority and dominant groups. To show the connection, the scholars introduce graphics depicting inequality frame and its influence on academic engagement in terms of White advantage and Black disadvantage. It clearly demonstrates increase in disengagement among subordinate groups and decline in disengagement among the dominant group.
In conclusion, the article provides a multi-dimensional analysis of academic analysis which allows to define the connection between academic outcomes and perceived self-esteem among White and Black participants, as well as between males and females involved in math studies. The report proves that inequality allows subordinate groups to be engaged whereas dominate groups become disengaged because of the perception of self-esteem is connected to the academic outcomes.
Lowery, B. S. and Wout, D. A. (2010). When Inequality Matters: The Effects of Inequality Frames on Academic Engagement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 98(6), 956-966.