Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 49

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE members of the outgroup. Both of these processes occur when groups collaborate on a superordinate goal.58 In fact, during the Robber’s Cave study, Sherif found that the only way to ameliorate intergroup conflict between the Rattlers and Eagles—two hostile groups of boys—was to create a common ingroup identity that encompassed both groups. In order to do this, Sherif created a superordinate goal by arranging for a camp truck to break down, and both groups were needed in order to pull it up a steep hill. This strategy worked well, and by the end of camp, the two groups were so friendly that they insisted on traveling home on the same bus. As the Rattlers and Eagles were converted from competitors to collaborators, “they” became “we,” and a common ingroup identity was forged. The power of superordinate goals demonstrated in the Robber’s Cave experiment is also evident around the world. For example, Greek-Turkish relations that had been fraught with conflict and mistrust for generations dramatically improved in 1999 when both countries experienced major earthquakes. The two countries united under a shared threat and began to bridge a significant gulf in intergroup relations.59 The fourth and final condition for successful intergroup contact is that relevant authorities define social norms in ways that favor intergroup contact. For instance, Thomas Pettigrew has argued that high-status representatives of the groups should model contact for other group members. Additionally, authority figures can set laws and regulations in place that favor intergroup contact (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka). Conversely, societal or institutional norms that favor intergroup conflict have been shown to constrain the positive impact of intergroup contact in South Africa60 and Northern Ireland.61 Christians who are empowered by an awareness of the automatic cognitive and emotional antecedents of conflict, and who have experienced positive 58. Gaertner and Dovidio, “Categorization, Recategorization,” in Dovidio, Glick, and Rudman, Reflecting on Prejudice. 59. Stephen Kinzer, “Earthquakes Help Warm Greek-Turk Relations,” New York Times, September 13, 1999, 60. Thomas F. Pettigrew, “Intergroup Contact Theory,” Annual Review of Psychology 49 (February 1998): 65–85. 61. Joanne Hughes, “Constitutional Reform in Northern Ireland: Implications for Community Relations Policy and Practice,” The International Journal of Conflict Management 12, no. 2 (2001): 257–282. 48