Antilocution is a form of prejudice in which negative verbal remarks against a person, group, or community, are made in a public or private setting and not addressed directly to the target. American psychologist Gordon Allport first used this term in his 1954 book, The Nature of Prejudice, to label the first of the five degrees of antipathy that measure manifestation of prejudice in a society as antilocution (see also: "Allport's Scale"). Antilocution is similar to the rather common form of betrayal in which a person "talks behind someone's back.", but antilocution involves an in-group ostracizing an out-group on a biased basis.
The term antilocution first appeared in 1954 in "The Nature of Prejudice", a book written by an American psychologist "Gordon Allport". Antilocution is the first stage of Allport's scale, a scale to measure the degree of bias or prejudice in one's society. Following antilocution, the greater stages of prejudice are avoidance, discrimination, physical attack, and extermination respectively. Antilocution is a compound noun which consists of the word locution and the word anti, to express a counterproductive way to employ locution.
Antilocution is considered the least aggressive form of prejudice and represented by conversations of individuals in a society sharing similar opinions, which often are biased and result in negative reputation of the target of antilocution. Although this form of prejudice maybe the least aggressive, it nevertheless can be very destructive and life-changing for the subject. Those who employ antilocution may not be aware or consider themselves as involved in any discriminatory act. Antilocution is perhaps the most common form of discriminative act, and is more commonly referred as minor gossips or scandals. The subject may feel the need to join in with the flow or comedize it if the antilocution is employed by the majority. This can either create a place for the subject in the pack or lead to a spread of biased information through the society and can lead to negative modification in behaviors toward the subject, thus will significantly put the subject in a disadvantaged way both socially and mentally.
Causes, employment, and danger
Individuals often engage in prejudicial conversation when they feel threatened and frequently is based on misperceptions and stereotyping of the subject. Antilocution often related to the fact that the subject is viewed as an anomaly to the group, for example the subject maybe a newcoming member thus no one actually know the subject so they judge the subject based on their perceptions and stereotyping, often involve racism, ethnic, or gender. Most individuals engaged in this type of behavior will most likely deny that their behavior is prejudicial in any way, and often indicate this as a matter of expressing their own opinions. This kind of treatment to antilocution is very dangerous in its own as it leads to a widespread in discriminative acts toward the subject as individuals feel little to no guilt in doing so. Facts are often needed to contradict misinformation and create a positive influence in the society toward the subject, or else opinions will continue to multiply and lead to further misconceptions, which can eventually lead to more serious forms of prejudice and discrimination and will harm the subject socially, mentally, and even physically if the problem worsen to a certain degree.
- R. G. Frey, Christopher Heath Wellman (2003). A Companion to Applied Ethics. United States: Basil Blackwell Inc, US. ISBN 978-1-405-13345-6
- Katz, Irwin (1991). "Gordon Allport's "The Nature of Prejudice"". Political Psychology. 12 (1): 125–157. doi:10.2307/3791349.
- Allport, Gordon W (1955). The Nature of Prejudice. Cambridge, US
- Kenny, Robert Wade; ANTILOCUTIONS in Encyclopedia of Social Services and Disability (edited By Linwood Cousins), 2014, pp. 94–96.