Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict

The Oxford Centre for the Study of Intergroup Conflict is based in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford. Our research focuses on the social-psychological study of intergroup conflict, with a particular focus on intergroup contact as a means of improving intergroup relations.

With a focus on conflict resolution, much of our research has been conducted in settings where there is current conflict between social groups (such as Northern Ireland, before the 1998 Agreement), or in post-conflict societies such as later in Northern Ireland and in ex-Yugoslavia (other locations in which we have conducted research include Poland, Cyprus, Nigeria, South Africa, Malaysia, Australia, Turkey and Japan). In addition, an area which is becoming a major focus is domestic relations in the UK between Muslim and non-Muslim groups, and in particular the reduction of Islamophobia.

Our research involves assessing the impact and mechanisms of contact between members of conflicting groups, with a particular emphasis on its ability to reduce prejudice and facilitate reconciliation. Methods we employ include large-scale surveys (both cross-sectional and longitudinal) in target social groups, contact-based interventions in settings such as schools and workplaces, social network analysis to assess patterns of segregation, and laboratory experiments.

Recently we have published work on the effect of neighbourhood contact (as opposed to individual contact) on prejudice, the relationship between ethnic diversity, contact, trust and perceived outgroup threat, segregated seating patterns in cafeterias of mixed-ethnicity schools, and the ‘secondary transfer’ effects of contact with one outgroup to attitudes towards other groups.

The Centre is directed by Professor Miles Hewstone. For more information about researchers working at the Centre, please follow this link.

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