The political and legislative changes which took place in South Africa during the 1990s, with the dissolution of apartheid, created a unique set of social conditions. As official policies of segregation were abolished, people of both black and white racial groups began to experience new forms of social contact and intimacy. By examining these emerging processes of intergroup contact in South Africa, and evaluating related evidence from the US, Racial Encounter offers a social psychological account of desegregation. It begins with a critical analysis of the traditional theories and research models used to understand desegregation: the contact hypothesis and race attitude theory. It then analyzes every day discourse about desegregation in South Africa, showing how discourse shapes individuals' conception and management of their changing relationships and acts as a site of ideological resistance to social change. The connection between place, identity and re-creation of racial boundaries emerge as a central theme of this analysis. This book will be of interest to social psychologists, students of intergroup relations and all those interested in post-apartheid South Africa.
Kevin Durrheim is Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa John Dixon is Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at the University of Lancaster