In Northern Ireland research indicates that inter-group contact is the exception rather than the rule and that when it does take place it tends to be superficial rather than intimate. Research suggests that one reason for avoiding intimate contact with members of the 'other community' is because this has become a recognised method of avoiding conflict. One probable explanation for this comes from research carried out in other societies which indicates that people tend to avoid inter-group contact because such contact is anxiety provoking. As yet inter-group anxiety is a phenomenon which has not yet been investigated in a Northern Irish context. The present project will investigate, by means of a survey, the phenomenon of inter- group contact among young people in Northern Ireland. Based on the results of the survey, experimental contact situations will be set up in order to investigate the best methods for combating inter-group anxiety in contact groups in Northern Ireland.
Aims and objectives:
To increase understanding of the dynamics of conflict in Northern Ireland in a way that will inform future community relations policy.