NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ963768
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: ISSN-1361-3324
Making Contact. Generating Interethnic Contact for Multicultural Integration and Tolerance in Amsterdam
Muller, Floris
Race, Ethnicity and Education, v15 n3 p425-440 2012
Interethnic contact is considered a potent tool for the generation of interethnic understanding and tolerance. This faith has engendered countless social projects that seek to stimulate contact between members of different ethnic groups under "optimal conditions". However, the academic literature does not stipulate how, if at all, these optimal conditions can be realized in real world interventions. This article investigates how the organizers of a number of Dutch projects for "contact under optimal conditions" conceived of such contact and how these conceptualisations informed how projects were set up, executed and experienced. The analysis demonstrates that organizers conceived of "interethnic contact under optimal conditions" as a natural autonomous process. Optimal conditions for this natural process were assumed to be guaranteed when project workers interfered as little as possible with the contact between participants. The "natural" processes thus engendered were assumed to lead to the recognition of fundamental sameness between two ethnic groups and/or the recognition of the superficiality of their differences. In practice, however, projects were set up in ways that privileged the exchange of uncontroversial information on personal tastes and ethnic differences. Moreover, the emphasis on the dual recognition of fundamental sameness and superficial difference produced a discursive context in which the exploration of conflicts of interest was foreclosed. These results suggest that the notion of "interethnic contact under optimal conditions" may in practice have connotations that lead to practices that reinforce, rather than challenge, existing prejudices and misunderstandings. (Contains 5 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Netherlands