Social Sciences

Start Your Free Trial

What are the advantages and disadvantages of categorizing individuals? 

Expert Answers info

Michael Koren eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write2,982 answers

starTop subjects are History, Law and Politics, and Social Sciences

Categorizing people has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that people can develop a set of expectations if they know how a specific group of people generally thinks, behaves, and operates. This can help a person prepare for meetings, conferences, and social outings. It also may help an individual understand the cultural characteristics of a group of people. This can help to ease tensions and create a better experience for all involved. For example, in some cultures and religions, married women and men will not have any physical contact with other people of the opposite sex. If I know this, I would not extend my hand to shake the hand of a married woman.

The biggest disadvantage is that not everybody will fit the perceived characteristics of a group of people. This can lead to embarrassing situations and create misunderstandings and misrepresentations. There have been many instances where people have made inaccurate conclusions, as individuals assumed a person would fit the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 553 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial