Racial contact and change in South Africa

SOURCE: Journal of Social Issues
TITLE AUTHOR(S): K.Durrheim, J.Dixon
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 9925
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/11191

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We investigate the effects of sociopolitical change on intergroup contact and social distance attitudes in South Africa, and the effect of these variables on intergroup attitudes and racial policy attitudes. The data come from secondary analysis of surveys conducted between 1991 and 2005, as well as a dedicated survey conducted in 2006. The results reveal widespread racial isolation among Black people; ambivalent attitudes to racial integration among Whites, who support integration in principle but are opposed to it personally; and contrasting outcomes of contact for Blacks and Whites. Increased intergroup contact was associated with reduced stereotyping and increased support for transformation policies among Whites but was associated with increased opposition to transformation policies among Blacks. Contrary to the predictions of contact theory, attitudes of Blacks and Whites toward Coloured and Indian compatriots were generally more negative in provinces with high levels of intergroup contact between these groups.