Research

Bridging group divides: A theoretical overview of the “what” and “how” of Gateway Groups

Love, A. & Levy, A. (2019)

Journal of Social Issues, 2, 414-435, DOI: 10.1111/josi.12327

One of the most recent developments in the realm of intergroup relations is that of the gateway group notion. This conceptual framework addresses the potential of groups with multiple social backgrounds to play a role in the facilitation of positive intergroup relations between their distinct social counterparts (e.g., immigrants as a gateway between home and host countries). Given their shared identity with different social groups, people with multiple identities can potentially bridge the cleft between the two otherwise separate groups with which they are affiliated. In this article, we first provide a theoretical introduction to the gateway group notion and review preliminary experimental and social network‐based research on gateway groups’ potential to improve intergroup relations. We then integrate this novel concept with the existing literature on intergroup contact and social categorization and discuss the potential social implications of gateway groups.

 

Reducing intergroup bias through intergroup contact: Twenty years of progress and future directions

Dovidio JF., Love A., Schellhaas FMH., Hewstone M. (2017)

Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 20, 606-620. DOI: 10.1177/1368430217712052

Classic research on the contact hypothesis focused on the direct relationship between the antecedents (conditions under which contact occurs) and the outcomes (primarily, the reduction of prejudice) of intergroup contact. Recent work has taken a broader view of contact processes and effects. We review key developments over the past 20 years, identifying different forms of contact, factors that mediate and moderate the effects of contact, and both the nature and temporal stage and the varied outcomes of contact. We then identify several research directions to address pressing theoretical and practical issues. These issues concern (a) group processes and intergroup relations, (b) intergroup contact in the context of multiple categorization, (c) structural- and individual-level processes, (d) a broader range of individual-level outcomes (e.g., health), and (e) impact on social change. Contact theory and research provides a comprehensive conceptual foundation, allied to a range of powerful empirical techniques, for important new advances and practical applications for improving intergroup relations and producing more equitable outcomes across groups.

 

Intergroup contact and social change: Implications of negative and positive contact for collective action in advantaged and disadvantaged groups

Reimer NK., Becker JC., Benz A., Christ O., Dhont K., Klocke U., Neji S., Rychlowska M., Schmid K., Hewstone M. (2017)

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43, 121 – 136, DOI: 10.1177/0146167216676478

Previous research has shown that (a) positive intergroup contact with an advantaged group can discourage collective action among disadvantaged-group members and (b) positive intergroup contact can encourage advantaged-group members to take action on behalf of disadvantaged outgroups. Two studies investigated the effects of negative as well as positive intergroup contact. Study 1 ( n = 482) found that negative but not positive contact with heterosexual people was associated with sexual-minority students’ engagement in collective action (via group identification and perceived discrimination). Among heterosexual students, positive and negative contacts were associated with, respectively, more and less LGB (lesbian, gay, bisexual) activism. Study 2 ( N = 1,469) found that only negative contact (via perceived discrimination) predicted LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) students’ collective action intentions longitudinally while only positive contact predicted heterosexual/cisgender students’ LGBT activism. Implications for the relationship between intergroup contact, collective action, and social change are discussed.