Harmony and Social Change

Positive interactions between members of different groups are considered the most optimal route for promoting intergroup tolerance. Indeed, many efforts are aimed at bringing members of different groups together to get to know one another or to work together on a joint project. Such positive interactions were found to generate more liking between the groups, and a sense of shared fate and common identity. In our work we challenge the assumption that harmony between groups is the best recipe for solving intergroup tension. Our research demonstrates that harmonious relations can, quite paradoxically, serve to sustain the status quo by undermining disadvantaged group members' awareness of injustice and commitment for social change. We study such paradoxical effects, and also attempt to discover the type of harmony that can give rise to more sustainable social change.