From C. P. Ellis to School Integration: The Social Psychology of Conflict Reduction



In this article, the authors review social psychological theories of intergroup conflict reduction. Emphasis is placed on three interrelated social conditions which facilitate conflict reduction: intergroup contact, superordinate goals, and shared identities. Bridging experimental research with real-world studies of schooling, these concepts are applied to understanding the process of school integration. Social contexts which present conflicting parties with a new shared goal and identity, as well as opportunities to become familiar with others beyond stereotypes and anxious reactions, dramatically increase the likelihood of diffusing conflict.