Social-Psychological Approaches for Resolving Intergroup and International Conflict

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


The problem of destructive intergroup and international conflict can be seen as the most significant issue confronting humankind, particularly in the nuclear age. The immediate question for all disciplines, including social psychology, is what unique contribution each might make to the nonviolent and constructive resolution of such conflict. As noted in Chapter 2, social psychology can be largely characterized as the study of intergroup relations and, directly or indirectly within that context, of intergroup conflict. Unfortunately, as also noted, social-psychological studies have tended to rely strongly upon concepts and methods at the individual or interpersonal levels of analysis, thus ignoring group, intergroup, and higher level variables. A similar concern is voiced by D.M. Taylor and Moghaddam (1987) in their integrative treatment of theories of intergroup relations that have a social-psychological orientation. These authors note the individualistic approach of much social-psychological work, with a consequent disregard of societal factors and a lack of relevance to collectivities such as ethnic groups. All of the theories discussed involve psychological processes at the level of individuals. Some theories, such as equity theory and relative deprivation theory, remain predominately at the individual level of analysis, while others, such as social identity theory and the 5-stage model of intergroup relations (D.M. Taylor & McKirnan, 1984), blend individual-level concepts with grouplevel concepts to explain the nature of intergroup relations.


International Conflict Intergroup Relation Intergroup Contact Outgroup Member 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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