The Historical and Relational Contexts of the Study of Positive Behaviors across Group Boundaries

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Abstract

The article begins by placing the present emphasis against the background of developments in two fields of social psychological research: intergroup relations and prosocial behavior. This interest in cross-group positive behaviors emanates, partly at least, from developments in Social Psychology the sociocultural environment in which it has developed. Subsequently, the meaning of positive behavior is considered within a specific intergroup relational context. From a broad perspective, intergroup relations are positive, neutral, or negative. Negative relations can be characterized by direct violence or structural violence. Allophilia and xenophilia are seen as most appropriate in relatively neutral relational contexts, social change in contexts of structural violence, and the healing conflict-related psychological scars in direct violence. A final section discusses three possible future research directions: Effects of power relations, in-group identity, and Internet-based interactions on cross-group positive behaviors. A discussion of the important implications of the research concludes this article.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-613
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2016

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