Effrosyni Charitopoulou (University of Oxford) (webinar)
22 September 2020 @ 14:00
“Type of contact matters: prosocial behaviour towards asylum seekers and the European refugee crisis in Greece”
Abstract: Why do ingroup members help outgroup strangers? Focusing on the case of Greece in the context of the European refugee crisis, I study behavioural motivations of host community members who offered their assistance to asylum seekers. Drawing on an in-depth consideration of behavioural patterns and their variation, I assert that the type of intergroup contact significantly influences prosocial actions. The situational dynamics emerging as a function of the distance that separated host community members from asylum seekers when they came into contact determined the actions of the former, who, often, even overrode personal predispositions. More specifically, the ability to discern individuals, rather than groups, as well as the degree of emergency asylum seekers were facing at the time of contact led to dissimilar behavioural outcomes even among the same individuals. On this basis, I hint at the importance of not only quantifying intergroup contact, but also of qualitatively assessing it, when examining its role on intergroup relations. To develop this argument, I employ an extreme case methodology and draw on the basis of 37 in- depth interviews and broader ethnographic insights.