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Regular version of the site

Book chapter

Introduction to Mutual Intercultural Relations

P. 1-33.

There is probably no more serious challenge to social stability and cohesion in the contemporary world than the management of intercultural relations within culturally plural societies. Successful management depends on many factors including a research-based understanding of the historical, political, economic, religious and psychological features of the groups that are in contact. The core question is: ‘How shall we all live together?’ (Berry, 2003a). In the project on which this book is based, we seek to provide such research by examining three core psychological principles in seventeen culturally plural societies. This project is entitled Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies (MIRIPS). A description of the project is available on line at www.victoria.ac.nz/cacr/research/mirips. The first goal of the project is to evaluate three hypotheses of intercultural relations (multiculturalism, contact and integration) across societies in order to identify some basic psychological principles that may underlie intercultural relations across cultural contexts. Second, in order to understand the mutual character of intercultural relations, these hypotheses are examined in both the dominant (national) populations and in the non-dominant (immigrant and ethnocultural) communities. These goals are pursued by repeatedly examining some features of intercultural relations in a number of societies that vary in their intercultural contexts. The third goal is to relate the pattern of findings to the contextual features of these societies, including a country’s extant cultural diversity and their policies that deal with their diversity. These societies also vary in their history, political and economic characteristics with respect to the relationships among groups. These contextual factors provide background information within which to interpret the 1 Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316875032.001 Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. North Carolina State University, on 11 May 2019 at 16:58:33, subject to the Cambridge psychological findings. The fourth goal is to employ the findings and relationships to propose some policies and programmes that may improve the quality of intercultural relationships globally. The design of the project is an exercise in replication across contexts in order to discern what may be culturally universal and what may be culturally specific in how diverse groups of peoples engage in their intercultural relations. If there are consistencies in the empirical findings across these contexts, then they may serve as a basis for promoting more positive intercultural relations more generally in many societies. Many of the ideas, concepts and research instruments used in this project are derived from two earlier studies: The International Study of Attitudes Towards Immigrants and Settlement (ISATIS; see Berry, 2006) and the International Comparative Study of Ethnocultural Youth (ICSEY; see Berry, Phinney, Sam and Vedder, 2006a and b). The core ideas are that are addressed in the MIRIPS project are: 1. Multiculturalism hypothesis: When individuals feel secure in their place in a society, they will be able to better accept those who are different from themselves; conversely when individuals are threatened, they will reject those who are different. 2. Contact hypothesis: When individuals have contact with, and engage with others who are culturally different from themselves, they will achieve mutual acceptance, under certain conditions. 3. Integration hypothesis: When individuals identify with, and are socially connected to, both their heritage culture and to the larger society in which they live, they will achieve higher levels of well-being than if they relate to only one or the other culture, or to neither culture. These three hypotheses will be elaborated in section 6 of this chapter

In book

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.