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Abstract

Intergroup Dialogues, Building Community and Relational Justice

Abstract

Research suggests that civic engagement in American communities and connections among their residents seem to be in decline. With demographic changes indicating a greater population diversity, many are concerned about the social fabric that binds people together. One solution offered in the last two decades is engagement in intergroup dialogues - efforts to bring diverse populations into face-to-face facilitated conversations that attempt to craft better understanding, stronger relationships, and possible social action. This paper will look at the current research on "intergroup dialogues" to address three questions. First, why might such dialogues be important to building community, promoting reconciliation, and seeking social justice. Second, what does the research on these dialogues, in both community programs and on college campuses, tell us about their outcomes? And third, do intergroup dialogues provide a road to reconciliation that might be applied in the future to address broader issues of diversity?