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Beyond the two-group paradigm in studies of intergroup conflict and inequality: Third parties and intergroup alliances in xenophobic violence in South Africa

Kerr, Philippa; Durrheim, Kevin and Dixon, John (2017). Beyond the two-group paradigm in studies of intergroup conflict and inequality: Third parties and intergroup alliances in xenophobic violence in South Africa. British Journal of Social Psychology, 56(1) pp. 47–63.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12163
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Abstract

Social psychologists typically conceptualize intergroup processes in terms of unequal pairs of social categories, such as an advantaged majority (e.g., ‘Whites’) and a disadvantaged minority (e.g., ‘Blacks’). We argue that this two-group paradigm may obscure the workings of intergroup power by overlooking: (1) the unique dynamics of intergroup relations involving three or more groups, and (2) the way some two-group relationships function as strategic alliances that derive meaning from their location within a wider relational context. We develop this argument through a field study conducted in a grape-farming town in South Africa in 2009, focusing on an episode of xenophobic violence in which a Zimbabwean farm worker community was forcibly evicted from their homes by their South African neighbours. Discursive analysis of interview accounts of the nature and origins of this violence shows how an ostensibly binary ‘xenophobic’ conflict between foreign and South African farm labourers was partially constituted through both groups’ relationship with a third party who were neither victims nor perpetrators of the actual violence, namely White farmers. We highlight some potential political consequences of defaulting to a two-group paradigm in intergroup conflict studies.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2016 The British Psychological Society
ISSN: 2044-8309
Keywords: two-group paradigm; xenophobia; intergroup relations; three groups; alliances; De Doorns; South Africa; race; farm workers
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 48460
Depositing User: John Dixon
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2017 13:51
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2017 17:33
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/48460
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