Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Learning to Live TogetherPreventing Hatred and Violence in Child and Adolescent Development$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David A. Hamburg and Beatrix A. Hamburg

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195157796

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195157796.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 October 2021

Contact, intergroup relations, and opportunities for education

Contact, intergroup relations, and opportunities for education

(p.99) 7 Contact, intergroup relations, and opportunities for education
Learning to Live Together

David A. Hamburg

Beatrix A. Hamburg

Oxford University Press

If groups are strange to each other and therefore fearful or hostile, why not bring them together so they can get to know each other and become friendly? This plausible approach is more complicated than it looks at first glance. Under what conditions will intergroup contact be helpful? Can it sometimes be harmful? A variety of field and laboratory experiments support the hypothesis that intergroup competition tends to strengthen social relations within each group and to disrupt relations between the groups. If the experiments are arranged in a way that deliberately fosters competition between the groups, these effects are heightened. But even in the absence of such direct instruction or arrangement, potent factors favor interpersonal attraction or mutual attachment within a group: frequency of social interaction, proximity to each other, familiarity, and similarity of attitudes and values. Almost any sort of interaction within a group tends to promote in-group favoritism. Actually, it seems rather difficult to avoid this effect even if one tries to do so. Humans are highly susceptible to invidious in-group/out-group distinctions. Extensive experimental work strongly confirms the rich variety of observations from fieldwork in many cultures over extended times and in a variety of societies. This does indeed seem to be a profound and pervasive human characteristic–one of great practical significance throughout history. We will return to this theme and examples throughout the book. Findings of this sort have led some psychologists to formulate a principle of social identity, which emphasizes the powerful effects of social categorization in its own right. Such categorization seems to highlight an important aspect of the individual self-concept (and self-esteem) based on group membership. Such membership has, from the evolutionary and historical record, been an important feature in human survival over the millennia. In contemporary people–at least, in those who participate in psychological experiments–the cognitive delineation into an in-group and out-group, even without invidious attributions, tends to set in motion a process by which there is an accentuation of similarities within groups and differences between groups. It seems very convenient, easy, and somehow natural for people to deal with these via simple schemas or stereotypes.

Keywords:   Common Destiny Alliance, contact theory, cooperative behavior, cooperative learning, desegregation, ethnic groups, in-group/out-group, segregation

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .