Monday Afternoon Seminar: ‘The Conditions of Conflict: Community Ethnic Out-Group Size, Prejudice, and the Role of Segregation for the Contact and Threat Hypotheses’ISER External Seminars

Extensive research has explored how the size of the ethnic out-group population in an environment affects inter-group attitudes. Drawing on the threat and contact hypotheses, this study develops and tests a theoretical framework which formally integrates segregation into this debate. Conceiving of the size of out-group and its level of segregation as (largely) distinct characteristics of a community, we suggest it will be the intersection of high exposure and high segregation that is problematic for inter-group relations. Using a sample of white British individuals in England, we observe that community segregation moderates the association between community percent non-white British and: prejudice, positive intergroup contact and (perceived) inter-group threat. Findings show that residents of more homogeneous communities report relatively warm inter-group attitudes, regardless of how segregated they are. Residents experiencing high out-group exposure in integrated communities report similarly warm attitudes. It is only residents living amongst large outgroup populations in segregated communities who evince colder out-group attitudes. This higher prejudice in high-exposure, segregated communities can be accounted for by both lower rates of positive inter-group contact and higher perceived-threat. This paper demonstrates the importance of accounting for segregation alongside out-group size when examining the spatial drivers of prejudice. Mechanisms of positive-contact and threat both appear conditional on the size of out-groups in an area and how segregated they are from one another, generating key differences in how out-group exposure affects inter-group relations.

Presented by:

James Laurence, University of Manchester

Date & time:

20 Feb 2017 16:00 pm



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