Abstract: The use of public spaces can promote social cohesion and facilitate interpersonal interactions within the community. However, the ways racial and ethnic groups interact in public spaces can also reflect and influence informal segregation in the wider community. The present study aimed to examine patterns of intergroup contact within public spaces in Victoria, Australia through short-term observation in four localities. Data were collected on within-group, intergroup and absence of contact for people from minority and majority groups. A total of 974 contacts were observed. Findings indicate that in the observed public spaces, people from visible minority groups tended to have no contact with others or to interact with people from other ethnic/racial groups. In contrast, those from the majority group tended to interact predominately with other majority group members. This suggests that majority group members are more likely to ‘self-segregate’ in public spaces than those from minority groups.
Keywords: intergroup contact; public space; segregation; Australia; observation; diversity
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Priest, N.; Paradies, Y.; Ferdinand, A.; Rouhani, L.; Kelaher, M. Patterns of Intergroup Contact in Public Spaces: Micro-Ecology of Segregation in Australian Communities. Societies 2014, 4, 30-44.
Priest N, Paradies Y, Ferdinand A, Rouhani L, Kelaher M. Patterns of Intergroup Contact in Public Spaces: Micro-Ecology of Segregation in Australian Communities. Societies. 2014; 4(1):30-44.
Priest, Naomi; Paradies, Yin; Ferdinand, Angeline; Rouhani, Lobna; Kelaher, Margaret. 2014. "Patterns of Intergroup Contact in Public Spaces: Micro-Ecology of Segregation in Australian Communities." Societies 4, no. 1: 30-44.