“If We Become Friends, Maybe I Can Change My Perspective: ” Intergroup Contact, Endorsement of Conflict Narratives, and Peace-Related Attitudes in Turkey

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Abstract

Positive intergroup contact is effective in reducing prejudice in both high- and low-status groups. However, it is important to study the impact of contact between groups in conflict-ridden societies on additional outcomes, such as attitudes toward reconciliation and peace-related policies. The current conditions in Turkey offer the opportunity to study the relations between intergroup contact, endorsement of conflict narratives, and peace-related attitudes in 3 different groups: (a) the ethnic majority (Turks); (b) a subgroup within the ethnic majority who feel excluded due to their political preferences (i.e., participants in the recent Gezi Park protests who developed a common identity as “çapulcu” [looter]); and (c) the ethnic minority (Kurds). Bivariate correlations and multigroup path analysis suggested that intergroup contact may not lead majority-status groups to support prominority conflict narratives, but may lead them to support prominority policies, whereas it may lead majority-status groups who feel excluded to support both prominority narratives and policies. Results also indicated that contact may be counterproductive for minority groups by altering their endorsement of specific conflict narratives, which then reduces their support for changes that would benefit their group.

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