Intergroup Contact

Implications for Peace Education

Authored by: Eric W. Mania , Samuel L. Gaertner , Blake M. Riek , John F. Dovidio , Marika J. Lamoreaux , Stacy A. Direso

Handbook on Peace Education

Print publication date:  September  2009
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780805862522
eBook ISBN: 9780203837993
Adobe ISBN: 9781136874529


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Bringing people from different groups together, intergroup contact, holds great potential for promoting peaceful relationships between groups. This potential was recognized by social scientists as early as the 1930s (Dovidio, Gaertner, & Kawakami, 2003). Since then, a wealth of research has demonstrated that intergroup contact can improve many aspects of intergroup relations. Unfortunately, the simple act of putting groups into contact is not a panacea for eliminating intergroup tension and conflict. Indeed, for intergroup conflict to erupt, there must be some contact between the groups. Using contact in the service of peace requires more than just recognizing that bringing groups together can improve intergroup relations. It requires a realistic appraisal of the benefits and harm that contact can bring, an understanding of the conditions that maximize the benefits, and an integration of these conditions into practical interventions.

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