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Contact and Boundaries ‘Locating’ the Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>10/2001
<mark>Journal</mark>Theory and Psychology
Issue number5
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)587-608
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The contact hypothesis states that regular interaction between members of different groups reduces prejudice, providing it occurs under favourable conditions. This paper discusses an implied but neglected aspect of the hypothesis, namely its interconnectedness with the spatial organization of intergroup relations. The first section analyses the limited ways in which the spatiality of contact has been conceived in past research. Offering an alternative perspective, the paper then outlines a framework for exploring the relationship between contact and processes of boundary regulation (see Sibley, 1995). As a developing theme, the paper emphasizes the need to devise social psychological theory that is adequate to the spatial dimension of group processes. This will require a shift away from a conception of social space as an inert background to social life towards a conception of social space as a meaningful and dynamic production that constitutes our collective relations and identities.