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EASP – European Association of Social Psychology

Publications by Members

13.06.2017, by Sibylle Classen in publication

Intergroup helping, van Leeuwen, E., & Zagefka, H. (Eds.), Springer 2017

Intergroup Helping.jpg
Intergroup Helping.jpg

The aim of this volume is to provide an overview of psychological research on intergroup helping, arguing for intergroup helping as a research area in and of itself. Historically, research on intergroup relations has largely focused on negative intergroup interactions, such as prejudice or discrimination. This, and the fact that most of the research on helping has focused on individuals, meant that helping between (members of) different groups was largely overlooked. However, over the last decade, a small but growing group of researchers has started to investigate intergroup helping as a social act occurring between and amongst groups. The contributions of these expert researchers, which are summarised in this volume, make the case that intergroup helping should be studied as a phenomenon in and of itself, not as a mere expression of positive intergroup attitudes.

To advance this argument, the first section covers traditional research approaches in which the willingness to help other groups is construed as a form of discrimination. Then, the second section looks at the reasons why people may be motivated to help other groups. Finally, the last section explores intergroup helping in a wide range of real world settings, such as help for disaster victims or refugees/migrants. These contributions suggest that intergroup relations can be truly positive. Thus, Intergroup Helping informs researchers from fields as diverse as positive psychology, conflict resolution, fundraising, migration, and intergroup relations about the current state of affairs of research on intergroup helping, and sets out an agenda for further exploration. Tapping into the current trend towards positive psychology, it moves away from the traditional view within intergroup relations research of the group as a ‘source of trouble’, with the ultimate goal of promoting real positive behaviour that breaches intergroup divides.