This paper outlines a five-stage model of intergroup relations that attempts to specify the responses of disadvantaged and advantaged groups to inequality. It is proposed that at Stage 1 stratification is based solely on group membership resulting in a rigid dominant–subordinate relationship between groups. At Stage 2 stratification is believed to be based on individual achievement. At Stage 3 certain members of the disadvantaged group attempt to pass into the advantaged group. Stage 4 emerges as those who are unsuccessful in their attempt to pass engage in consciousness raising. Specifically, they attempt to persuade all members of the disadvantaged group that their status is collectively defined and illegitimate. At Stage 5 the disadvantaged group competes directly with the advantaged group. It is hypothesized that the basic processes of causal attribution and social comparison both underlie each stage and control the transition between the stages.