chapter  1
18 Pages

Introduction: advances in intergroup contact


The notion that intergroup contact can improve intergroup relations is a deceptively simple idea with strong intuitive appeal. Indeed, this basic notion became a fundamental cornerstone of twentieth-century policymaking, at least in principle, as the world’s economies and interests became increasingly intertwined and co-dependent. Explicit contact goals are now formally enshrined in our most important international agreements. For instance, in the wake of World War II the newly-formed UNESCO constitution famously declared that:

since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed; that ignorance of each other’s ways and lives has been a common cause, throughout the history of mankind, of that suspicion and mistrust between peoples of the world through which their differences have all too often broken into war.