The Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict is based in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, led by Professor Miles Hewstone. Our research focuses on the social-psychological study of intergroup conflict, with a particular focus on intergroup contact. Our research covers many parts of the world, and we use experimental, cross sectional and longitudinal data.
“It has sometimes been held that merely by assembling people without regard for race, color, religion, or national origin, we can thereby destroy stereotypes and develop friendly attitudes. The case is not so simple.”
"Social identity is "that part of an individual's self-concept which derives from his membership of a social group (or groups), together with the value and emotional significance attached to this".
‘‘Only if a psychological linkage is made between the image of specific individuals and the stereotype of a certain group, only when the individuals can be perceived as ‘typical representatives’ of that group, is the experience with individuals likely to affect the stereotype.’’
(Lewin & Grabbe, 1945).
‘‘Where friendly feelings characterize the relationships between members of a group of mixed ethnic composition and individual differences from the stereotypes become apparent, the ‘isolation’ process can be appreciably lessened and the generalization of the newly developed feelings of friendship to the entire ethnic group promoted if the group leaders frequently call attention to the ethnic affiliations of the group members.’’
(Chein, Cook, & Harding, 1948).
‘‘In order to predict the effect of contact upon attitudes we should ideally study the consequences of each of the following variables . . . (d) Is the contact perceived in terms of intergroup relations or not perceived as such? (e) Is the contact regarded as ‘typical’ or as ‘exceptional’?’’
“If left to their own devices it seems people will retreat into their own separate “comfort zones” surrounding themselves only by people like themselves.
(Commission for Racial Equality, 2001)
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ..... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
(Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960)
As an intervention, intergroup contact cannot possibly deal with all the problems posed by intergroup conflict...... But it is difficult to imagine successful reduction of prejudice or intergroup conflict without sustained, positive contact between members of .... previously antipathetic groups. Contact is not the solution, but it must be part of any solution to the challenge posed by the enduring power of prejudice and its pernicious consequences.
(Miles Hewstone, 2009)