Henri Tajfel’s Minimal Group Paradigm stands as one of the classics of social psychology. Prior to his work, researchers assumed that intergroup conflict could only occur in situations where groups had real pasts, presents, or futures in which they competed over resources. The study results revealed that intergroup conflict could occur simply with assignment into “minimal” groups. This reality was paradigm-shaking because it forced social psychologists to wrestle with the inevitability, and maybe even the intractability, of intergroup conflict.
To prepare for this Assignment, review the research methodology behind and results from the Minimal Group Paradigm. Think about how it relates to other understandings of the origins of intergroup conflict, and consider any conclusions you might draw about the inevitability of intergroup conflict based on this study.
The Assignment (3–4 pages)
- Summarize the research methodology and results from the Minimal Group Paradigm.
- Explain how the results from the Minimal Group Paradigm may complement and/or challenge the understanding of other sources of intergroup conflict (e.g., scarcity of resources, competition, history).
- Explain influences of this research on the notion of inevitability of intergroup conflict.