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Parallel lives: Intergroup contact, threat and the segregation of everyday activity spaces

Dixon, John; Tredoux, Colin; Davies, Gemma; Huck, Johnny; Hocking, Bree; Sturgeon, Brendan; Whyatt, Duncan; Jarman, Neil and Bryan, Dominic (2019). Parallel lives: Intergroup contact, threat and the segregation of everyday activity spaces. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Early Access).

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000191
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Abstract

Although intergroup contact can reduce prejudice, opportunities to experience such contact are often constrained by systems of segregation. Work on this problem has focused on divisions entrenched within institutions of residence, education and employment. Our research employed a complementary approach, which treated segregation as the outcome of individuals’ movements over time within everyday life spaces. Taking as a case study Catholics’ and Protestants’ use of public environments in north Belfast, we used GPS tracking technology, combined with GIS analytics, to explore the time geography of residents’ activity space use over a two-week period (Study 1). We also conducted a field survey to explore how psychological factors shaped their willingness to use activity spaces beyond their own communities (Study 2). Analysis based on around 1000 hours of raw movement data revealed that north Belfast is marked by high levels of segregation, expressed via residents’ limited use of public spaces, facilities and pathways located in outgroup areas. However, use of shared spaces is also common, with Catholics spending more time in such spaces than Protestants. Structural equation modelling suggested that residents’ self-reported willingness to use activity spaces outside their own communities was associated with both negative and positive intergroup contact - relationships partially mediated by realistic threat, symbolic threat, and anxiety over interaction across sectarian lines. Both kinds of contact and realistic threat were also associated with the time residents actually spent in spaces beyond their own communities. Opportunities for integrating psychological and geographic research on contact and segregation are highlighted.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 American Psychological Association.
ISSN: 1939-1315
Keywords: segregation; contact; intergroup threat; mobility; GIS; time geography; Northern Ireland
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology and Counselling
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 59269
Depositing User: John Dixon
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 09:50
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2019 12:26
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/59269
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