The role of school-based contact in reducing social distance: qualitative insights from Northern Ireland and the Republic of North Macedonia

Ana Tomovska Misoska*, Rebecca Loader

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Education plays an important role in bridging divisions and promoting positive intergroup relations. A number of initiatives aimed at improving relations in conflict-affected societies have been based on the contact hypothesis. However, very little attention has been devoted to the potential of such interventions to reduce social distance between groups. Moreover, the voices of the young people involved in such programmes have rarely been taken into consideration. This paper tries to address these gaps using a qualitative methodology. It presents the views and experiences of post-primary pupils involved in planned educational contact encounters in two countries that have experienced interethnic violence: Northern Ireland and the Republic of North Macedonia. The findings suggest that planned contact can be effective in reducing social distance. However the programmes need to provide opportunities for more frequent meetings, more personalized communication between pupils, and the sensitive exploration of contentious issues to ensure long-lasting changes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Peace Education
Early online date23 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 23 May 2021

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The role of school-based contact in reducing social distance: qualitative insights from Northern Ireland and the Republic of North Macedonia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this