Overview

The segregation of racial and ethnic groups is a social problem for two reasons: it creates inequality and it maintains prejudice. Most research on segregation has focused on the macro-level, institutional processes such as the organisation of residential areas in cities. The micro-ecology of segregation project is based on the idea that segregation also materializes at more intimate levels and within everyday life spaces. The aim of the project is to understand the nature, expression and consequences of human separation in situations of face-to-face encounter such as beaches, cafeterias, public transport, nightclubs, playgrounds and classrooms. In order to study this neglected dimension of social life, we have devised new methods of observation and inquiry. We are particularly interested in exploring the social psychological processes that keep people apart in contexts where they could be together.