Schofield, Janet Ward, & Eurich-Fulcer, Rebecca
When and How School Desegregation Improves Intergroup Relations: The Relationship Between Social Psychology and Social Policy
University of Pittsburgh
Analyze studies that focus on when and how does school desegregation improve intergroup relations?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Blackwell Handbook of Social Psychology: Intergroup Processes; pp 475-494
- The article discusses how and when desegregation improves intergroup relations by examining the social-psychology research. The contact hypothesis approach is the social-psychological perspective that has been most important in school desegregation research. It critiques early research design.
- The chapter discusses the nature of the contact and situational factors that are important to Allport's contact theory, by discussing the research that has built on this theory.
- Measurement and design issues are factors that influence the usefulness of social-psychological research on social policy.
- Some of the methodological flaws of this research are discussed (self-selection, correlational rather than causal associations, cross-sectional rather than longitudinal studies, lack of control groups and high attrition in longitudinal studies) as an impediment to social policy implementation.
- Social psychology research is dated, which limits its usefulness---new research is needed to reflect demographic changes (more, varied minority groups and racial attitudinal changes by majority and minority groups).
- Intergroup relations research has used an experimental mindset, however minimal groups do not necessarily reflect racial groups, and studies of college students are not representative of K-12 students. Research mainly focuses on micro rather than macro---macro is more policy oriented.
- More work needs to be done to better understand peer relationships as a factor influencing intergroup relations. Cognitive effects of intergroup relations does not easily translate to policy (too much focus on attitudes/beliefs, not enough focus on behavior).
Chapter in Book
Contact Theory , Desegregation, Intergroup Relations, Resegregation
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Reviews studies of school desegregation and intergroup relations from 1947 to 1998. Studies reviewed include: Stephan & Stephan (1984) Pettigrew (1997) Johnson, Maruyama, Johnson, Nelson & Skon (1981) Cohen (1972) Arcuri (1982) Brewer & Miller (1984) Oakes (1992)