Spaces of encounter and attitudes towards difference: a comparative study of two European cities

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Piekut, A. ; Valentine, G. (2016)

Scholars have been increasingly interested in how everyday interactions in various places with people from different ethnic/religious background impact inter-group relations. Drawing on representative surveys in Leeds and Warsaw (2012), we examine whether encounters with ethnic and religious minorities in different type of space are associated with more tolerance towards them. We find that in Leeds, more favourable affective attitudes are associated with contact in institutional spaces (workplace and study places) and socialisation spaces (social clubs, voluntary groups, religious meeting places); however, in case of behavioural intentions – operationalised as willingness to be friendly to minority neighbours – only encounters in socialisation spaces play a significant role in prejudice reduction. In Warsaw, people who have contacts with ethnic and religious minorities in public (streets, park, public services and transport) and consumption spaces (cafés, pubs, restaurants) express more positive affective attitudes towards them, but only encounters in consumption space translate into willingness to be friendly to minority neighbours.
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