Stereotype vs Archetype
Between the two concepts of Stereotype and Archetype, we can notice a number of differences. These have to be viewed as two types of beliefs upon social groups. These types of beliefs are discussed in length in psychology. Lt us try to understand the definitions of these two concepts before moving on to identifying the differences. An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term upon which the others are emulated. On the other hand, stereotype is a type of belief that is triggered by prior assumptions. This is the basic difference between stereotype and archetype. This article attempts to provide an understanding of the two concepts while highlighting the differences.
What are Stereotypes?
Stereotypes have to be understood as an oversimplified idea of the typical characteristics of a person. Stereotype is based on a number of theories. These theories have propped up due to the researches made in stereotype thinking. One of the theories related to stereotype is that people stereotype because it is very difficult to take all of the complexities of other people as individuals. Another theory related to the development of stereotype thinking says that childhood influences are some of the most complex factors in developing stereotypes. Some theories believe that stereotype is acquired in a man even during his childhood, and it can be acquired through parentage or heredity too. It can also be acquired by the influence of teachers, media and friends too. It is important to note that stereotypes are quite common in the cultural media such as drama and theater. The various characters in a play are portrayed stereotype to achieve the purpose of theater. Let us try to understand this through an example. If we say mother, there is an image that is formed in our mind. We allocate certain characteristics to this image such as nurturing, loving, kind, caring and selfless. So in a theater or performance the actor would attempt to highlight these qualities by aligning herself to the stereotypic mother figure. Sometimes stereotypes can be negative and harmful to certain individuals, even though it comes to people naturally. In such instances, people have to be aware of their beliefs and the reality of the situation. Let us take the same example. The stereotypic image that we have of the mother may not apply to a particular woman. She may not be caring, loving and even selfish in her actions towards the child. Hence, it is necessary to not be blinded by stereotypic ideas.
What are Archetypes?
Now let us understand what is meant by an Archetype. It is interesting to note that archetype refers to a generic version of personality. Hence, archetypes are construed to have been existent even during the times of folklore. In fact, it can be said that archetype was used to light up the characters in various literary works. Ancient mythology was deeply rooted in archetype. On the other hand, William Shakespeare is said to have created a number of archetypal characters. Flagstaff is one of the finest examples of an archetypal character. The term Archetype is used in psychology as well. It was Cal Jung who spoke of Archetypes in his works. According to Jung Archetypes can be models. These can apply to personalities, behavior and also to people. He believed that the idea of Archetypes is in the collective unconscious of people. He mainly identified four Archetypes. They are the Self, the Shadow, the Anima and Animus and the Persona. However, he did not limit it to these four. He believed that the hero, mother, father, trickster can all be viewed as Archetypes.
What is the Difference Between Stereotypes and Archetypes?
- An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term upon which the others are emulated.
- Stereotype is a type of belief that is triggered by prior assumptions.
- Both concepts have been studied in Psychology where number of research have taken place.
- When speaking of Archetypes, Carl Jung’s ideas are considered as prominent.
1.”18th century ethnography” by J. Ratelband & J. Bouwer – Series of school engravings by J. Ratelband & J. Bouwer first published in Amsterdam (1767 -1779).[Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2.”Processed SAM loki”. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons
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