Classic Contributions to the Study of Intergroup Conflict

  • Ronald J. Fisher
Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


The discipline of social psychology can be largely characterized as the study of intergroup relations. Indeed, the history of the field is permeated with a continuing interest in topics directly or indirectly related to understanding and improving relations among groups. The early concentration on attitude measurement (e.g., Likert, 1932; Thurstone & Chave, 1929) centered largely on attitudes toward various ethnic, racial, and religious groups as shown by later compendiums of attitude scales (Shaw & Wright, 1967). Similarly, theories of attitude formation and change often reflected an interest in intergroup relations (e.g., D. Katz, 1960), while the study of ethnic and racial stereotypes directly contributed to the broader investigation of prejudice and discrimination (e.g., D. Katz & Braly, 1933; P.A. Katz, 1976; P.A. Katz & Taylor, 1988). The area of social perception and cognition also has its connections to the enigma of intergroup relations (e.g., Allport & Postman, 1945), while the study of persuasive communication is rooted in a concern with the phenomenon of wartime propaganda, a clear concomitant of destructive intergroup relations (e.g., Hovland, Janis & Kelley, 1953). Finally, the applied side of the discipline has historically shown a keen interest in intergroup relations as exemplified by the seminal work of Lewin (1948) on the use of action research as a means of improving relations among groups in community settings.


Social Conflict Social Identity Theory Intergroup Relation Classic Contribution Intergroup Conflict 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald J. Fisher
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Institute for International Peace and SecurityOttawaCanada

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