Intergroup conflict is when members of a group have hostility towards one another. This can be seen in the cases of juvenile delinquents within a detention center who are also members of active gangs. They all have one thing in common – they are part of a group (the detention center) and are part of smaller groups (their individual gangs).
These differences cause the intergroup conflicts.
There are several concepts which contribute to the formation of intergroup conflicts: stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination. According to the text stereotype is, “a generalized belief about members of a group.” Prejudice is defined as “a generalized attitude towards members of a social group.” Discrimination is, “behavior directed toward people on the basis of their group memberships.” These concepts all play important roles in intergroup conflicts. (Kenrick, Neuberg, and Cialdini)
Stereotypes are thoughts about what we perceive people as. For instance many people possess the stereotype that people of the Jewish religion are cheap. This could also pertain to how gang members perceive each other to be. Although many gangs are violent they have different ways of looking at each other. Some gangs don’t like each other because they have many different stereotypes of each other. Stereotypes are usually ingrained in small children and typically last a life time. Stereotypes come in many different forms. For example, one gang may look at another gang and have the stereotype that they are all drug dealers when in fact they may not be. (Kenrick, Neuberg, and Cialdini)
... People can take on defined roles when involved in group activity; influence on these roles can be from observing other members of the group ... are often made between one group’s identity and others, be it sports teams, gangs, social groups, religion, or different ... cultures. Having an inflated opinion of the individuals group can encourage them ...
Prejudice can be how we feel about a particular group mostly based on our initial interaction with the group. Many gang members are brainwashed to believe in their gang. Early interactions within a person’s gang may cause a person to become prejudice of other gang members simply because they do not belong to that group and they are taught to not like that other gang. (Kenrick, Neuberg, and Cialdini).
Discrimination plays a very important role in intergroup conflicts. Many gangs are formed into racial groups (Mexican, African-American, Chinese, etc.) and are extremely hateful of any gang which contains different races. Having these different gang members in a detention center together may cause intergroup conflicts as discrimination has been become a way of life and they do not treat each other with any kind of respect.
There are several strategies that can be used to reduce intergroup conflict between gang members in a detention center. The first step would be to have both individual and group counseling sessions in which the individuals can discuss at liberty their thoughts, feelings, and emotions about violent situations and gang life. This openness will allow them to recognize the connections that they all have and the differences they possess as well. Also, this will give them deeper insight into the reasoning behind their actions when within a gang.
Another program that could be set up for these young men is to have them involved in community service programs in which they all have the same focus: to help out their surrounding communities. This will not only give them satisfaction in knowing that they are helping someone but it also gives the members some common ground and respect for one another. They will all have to learn to come together and cooperate within the group.
A boot camp-type program may be beneficial to some of these residents as sometimes a first-hand view can give a person a realistic view of how it feels to be in certain situations. Members of this detention center will go through vigorous boot camp experience in which they are uncomfortable and disrespected. After this “boot camp” experience members will have the opportunity to discuss how they felt during their personalized counseling sessions and also during the group counseling sessions. Residents should be encouraged to discuss with each other their feelings as this will create a stronger unity between all the residents.
... is best described as a personality conflict. Personality conflicts can be dealt with initially by the offending group members showing emotional intelligence (Dru skat ... group must reassign the member's jobs to other group members - any final decision will be made by the leader. Problem: Team members having personal conflict ...
Residents within the detention center may also benefit from participating in sports which will emphasize team work and working together regardless of race or gang affiliation. It will also teach them to follow rules and respect each other for their different abilities. Respect and admiration for each other’s different skills and teamwork will only enhance their interpersonal relationships.
There are many factors and reasons in which intergroup conflict arises especially in gangs. However, using the principles and knowing the reasons why these occur should hopefully eliminate and or reduce the rise of intergroup conflicts.
1. Kenrick, Douglas, Steven Neuberg, and Robert Cialdini. Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction. 4th edition. Print.