The Loser Syndrome – universality of the strategy of defense of discriminated groups


If one assumes, like Mayer Hacker, that a  social minority is a  group of people who, because of their physical or cultural characteristics, are not treated as equal to other groups in a  given society, then it turns out that many groups meet these criteria. In the prison subculture they are met by „losers,” in the macro-social space – by all minority groups such as national, ethnic, racial minorities, but also women and some religious minorities. It is surprising that although these groups often have comparable numerical, physical, or intellectual strength to that of the mainstream group, they are unable to obtain equal treatment, respect, and all the privileges that this entails. This is probably due to a number of factors, including tradition, cultural capital, resources, and culturally established institutions promoting specific social groups. However, an equally important determinant is the own activity of individuals forming a minority group, and their ability to integrate and consolidate with their own group. Among others, the following contribute to this: lack of intra-group solidarity, orientation towards the dominant group, excessive guilt, contempt for one’s own group etc. The article deals with the barriers inherent in the minority groups themselves, which contribute significantly to the consolidation of their unfavorable status. The size and scale of these barriers contribute to the status that I  call the loser syndrome. It is also important that the factors limiting the expansion of minority groups are similar in most minority groups. They are characterized by a certain universality.


victims; loser syndrome; oppressive situation; social minority; symptoms of the loser syndrome; humiliation; scapegoat; long-term oppressive situation

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Published : 2020-12-29

Pospiszyl, I. (2020). The Loser Syndrome – universality of the strategy of defense of discriminated groups. Resocjalizacja Polska, (20), 91-108.

Irena Pospiszyl
The Maria Grzegorzewska University in Warsaw  Poland

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