The positive effects of intergroup contact on prejudice reduction have been widely validated by now. However, the potential of contact for intergroup relations is only available when there is readiness to have contact with outgroup members to begin with. In two correlational studies with the main ethnic groups in postconflict Kosovo, Albanian majority (Study 1, N = 221) and Serb minority (Study 2, N = 110), we examine how social identity complexity mechanism and distinctiveness threat contribute to predicting more readiness to have contact with outgroup members. As the establishment of a new national identity unfolds, we show that while there are different processes that work for each of the groups, distinctiveness threat is a central concern to both as it mediates the relationship between identity and intergroup outcomes. For the Albanian majority group, having more complex identities (or perceiving less identity overlap between national and ethnic identity) predicts more readiness to have contact and feeling more positively towards members of the outgroup via reduced distinctiveness threat. For the Serb minority, however, threat is predicted only by strength of ethnic identification, which in turn predicts negative feelings towards members of the ethnic outgroup and less readiness to contact them. We conclude by comparing results for the majority and the minority groups and discuss strategies needed to reduce threat and improve intergroup relations in this segregated context struggling for reconciliation.
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Department, Program, or Center
Applied Arts and Science (SOIS)
Maloku, E., Derks, B., van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N. (2019). Stimulating interethnic contact in Kosovo: The role of social identity complexity and distinctiveness threat. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 22(7), 1039–1058. https://doi.org/10.1177/1368430218808884