Culture's role in conflict and conflict management: some suggestions, many questions.
Int J Intercult Relat 2005 Nov; 29(6):739-757
The contributions to this edition of the Journal are viewed as identifying two roles of culture in intergroup conflict. One is that culture separates people into an in-group and out-group based on the criterion of whether or not they share a common culture. According to social identity theory, this division creates the necessary condition for intergroup (intercultural) conflict. The second role is that culture shapes the individual's perception of conflict and how he or she will respond to the conflict. It is argued that embedded within the history and myths of a culture are stories that identify specific out-groups as likely protagonists. A model for achieving peaceful co-existence between cultural groups is presented. Peaceful co-existence has three components: cognition (acceptance of the right of the out-group to exist), emotion (low fear of the out-group), and behavior (willingness to engage in cooperative interaction with the out-group). It is argued that in order to achieve peaceful co-existence between cultural groups, intergroup contract must promote the security and identity of the ingroup, reduce the perceived threat of the out-group, and promote the perception of diversity within the out-group. The difficulties of achieving positive relations between cultural groups is recognized, and that a focus on intercultural relations should be prevention of hostility rather than reducing violent conflict after it has occurred.
Group-dynamics; Behavior-patterns; Emotional-stress; Sociological-factors; Sociology; Humans; Psychological-factors; Psychological-reactions; Psychological-responses
International Journal of Intercultural Relations
University of Hawaii at Hilo